Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
When Mary gave her full and knowing consent to the angel of the Lord, she provided the apotheosis in human embrace of divine will. She placed all of her trust in the Lord, willingly and without any reservation, even though she knew fully well what difficulties that assent would likely produce. An unwed teen mother in those days would have been much more than just an embarrassment; it would disgrace the family and could have led to her death by stoning as per the Jewish law. The marriage her parents that had been arranged for her would most likely be terminated abruptly and she might be forced to travel on her own to escape the shame of the constant rejection of her community.
We live in more tolerant times, and sometimes we miss that part of the fiat which Mary risked in offering her ‘yes’. In this remarkable passage from Luke, Mary doesn’t just assent to the pregnancy, but to laying down her life for the Lord – both literally and figuratively. She commits her all to surrendering to His will. All she can know at this point from what the angel tells her is that she will give birth and that her child will live, but she is given no guarantees as to whether she will live and under what conditions. Even so, Mary has true faith that the Lord’s will is greater than any of her own worries or cares, and even if it means hardship and danger or even death for her, Mary wants what the Lord wants and willingly conforms herself to His will. She does not seek assurances, nor does she hold back her conformity in some sort of alternate plan in case things go in a direction she doesn’t like. Mary accepts the will of the Holy Spirit and conforms herself to His will.
We have the gift of free will, which means we have our own ideas about how our lives are to go. That is our gift from God, and the manner in which we are made in His image. But free will leaves us with constant choices about how we live our lives, and whether we live them only for ourselves or for the Lord. We have our hopes, our dreams, and our plans, and we often put our trust in these and our own designs more than the Lord’s. So what will we say if the Lord’s wished are contrary to ours? Will we have formed ourselves enough to say ‘yes’ like our Blessed Mother. Do we have the faith — by which I mean the trust in the goodness of the Lord — to say ‘yes’ and truly mean it?