We have Jeff Young, the Catholic Foodie, to thank for this reflection on Mary, Joseph, and the power of our Yes and No in honor of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord. Thanks, Jeff!
“Behold, I am the Handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).
Fiat. Yes. Mary’s yes that resulted in the conception of the Messiah. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most Hight will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the great event that ultimately led to our salvation. This solemnity is positioned exactly nine months before the celebration of Christ’s birth, for obvious reasons. It is traditionally believed that as Mary uttered her fiat – at that very moment – she became the Mother of God. We can imagine all of Heaven and earth waiting in anxious expectation for Mary’s answer to God’s invitation. And she said yes.
Yes is such a positive word. We don’t tend to think of it as a negative. But do you know that every yes contains a no? If we say yes to something, then we necessarily say no to everything else. In saying yes to God’s invitation, Mary said no to every other plan or possibility for her life.
This fact really hit home for me as I prepared to get married. As our wedding day approached, I began to realize that saying yes to Char meant saying no to every other woman in the world. And I said that yes with such joy!
On this Solemnity of the Annunciation, I can’t help but think of St. Joseph. He said yes too. Instead of exposing Mary to the Law, he took the words of the angel who appeared to him to heart. He took Mary as his wife. He said yes and he became the father of Jesus.
I think it’s appropriate to celebrate today’s solemnity so soon after celebrating the Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of Mary, which was just last Friday, March 19. For me this proximity reinforces the fact that the Holy Family was a real family. They understand intimately all the joys and sorrows that my family experiences. That’s encouraging.
On this great Marian solemnity, God is inviting me to renew my total consecration to Mary, the Mother of God. I first made my consecration to Mary when I was 17. It was July 16, 1987, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. That was a long time ago. I think it’s time to renew it! Tomorrow I start the preparation according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort. And I am not alone. My wife Char is joining me as I join Sarah Reinhard and many readers of just another day of Catholic pondering. I am excited to say yes to this invitation!
Is God inviting you to something? Will you give your fiat? He wants only good for us. We can certainly trust in that (see Romans 8:28). “Do not be afraid… for you have found favor with God” (Lk. 1:30).
At His invitations in our lives, let us say yes, “…let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).