“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be done to me according to your word.”
– Luke 1:38
When the angel Gabriel announces that Mary will bear the Son of God, Mary responds with a clear and bold “Yes!” to God’s invitation. Is our response to God’s invitation like Mary’s? Or is our response more like “yes… but”? Recall the would-be disciple who responded to Jesus’s “follow me” with an initial “yes”, but then continued: “Lord, first let me go and bury my father” (Matthew 8:20). Although it seems like a reasonable justification, one wonders if the person would find other “very important” excuses to delay his commitment.
Are we willing to drop everything to follow the Lord without reservation? Or do we use rationalizations as delay tactics?
“Yes, but I don’t have time right now… yes, but only later when I am more equipped with knowledge to truly make a difference… yes, but not until I have figured out my life…” make a difference… yes, but not until I have figured out my life…” (Recall the prophet Jeremiah’s protest that he was too young—Jeremiah 1:6—and yet God’s grace spoke powerfully through him despite his human limitations, as was the case with many prophets).
Or perhaps we have said “yes” to God, but with only one big toe-dipping into the river of faith while our other foot is firmly planted on the safe shore. “Sure, I will say ‘yes’ to you, Lord, but I’m going to keep on making payments on my condo and keep my well-paying job just in case.”
In consenting to be the Mother of God (can you imagine?!), she models a gigantic “Yes!” to God’s invitation. Mary radically opened herself to God’s plan for her, even though she did not, could not, come close to understanding what God would accomplish through her. But neither was she naïve, for she certainly knew she was saying “yes” to something very big, something that would profoundly change her life. Mary risked everything.
We are invited to follow the example of Mary’s “Yes!”: “I am the Lord’s Servant. May it be done to me according to your word.”
If you could cast aside all fears and restraints, what is God inviting you to say “Yes!” to?
What holds me back from saying “Yes?
How does Mary and her “Yes!” speak to me and inspire me?