Every Sunday at Mass, during the Our Father we all say together ‘Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ But do we really mean it? Sometimes we want with all our heart and soul for God’s will to be done – and other times we don’t. We’d rather things go the way we want them to. Often it’s the little, hidden moments of life that are the hardest times to say to God ‘Thy will be done.’
On St. Joseph’s Workshop, Fr. Matthew Spencer, OSJ reflected on the Annunciation, and how we can look to the Blessed Mother as a model of how to say yes to God in both the big and little moments of our lives.
“What was Mary saying yes to?” he asked. “She was saying yes to be the mother of Jesus. She was saying yes to the sufferings that were going to come along with that, even though she may not have realized in that moment all of the particulars or the specifics of those sufferings. But, in fact, it was also a yes to the whole rest of her vocation.”
“It was, on the one hand, saying yes to the uncertainty of not knowing exactly where her vocation was going to take her. That is a difficult thing for me to think about. And it may be difficult for you to think about.”
Often we can look at the Annunciation and wish that God was that clear in His dealings with us. That if only an angel would appear to us and tell us what the Lord wants, our lives would be so much easier. But if we look at the life of Mary, we can see that while her yes to the Lord’s plan was good, it wasn’t always easy.
“It’s interesting that Mary didn’t necessarily know all that was going to be demanded of her from that moment of her saying yes,” Fr. Matthew pointed out. “It wasn’t like she had a vision of everything that was going to unfold. Like ‘Oh, by the way, Jesus is going to be crucified and you’re going to be at the foot of the Cross while your beloved Son dies.'”
“I’m sure she must have had some indication of what that was going to be, but there was an unknown to all of that. There was an uncertainty, and she was not sure what her yes would mean. But guess what? She did it anyway.”
The moment of the Annunciation was not the only moment that Mary said yes to God’s plan. The lesson we learn from the Blessed Mother is that one yes leads to many other yeses. Mary agreed to travel to Bethlehem, despite the difficult circumstances. She agreed to flee with Joseph to Egypt in order to protect Jesus. Mary’s life was a series of saying yes to God, even up to the Cross.
“This is encouraging to me, because I look at my life and think there were some moments that took some serious yeses, some serious fiats, but that wasn’t the end of that yes,” said Fr. Matthew. “The yes has to continue on in all those little moments that follow, in the little things that succeed the big yes.”
To illustrate this he offered some examples, saying, “It’s to say, ‘I did say yes all those years back to my husband, and so I’m going to say yes again now.’ Or I did say, ‘OK Lord, I will do your will,’ way back when I became Catholic, when I received my 1st Communion, when I was Confirmed, when I went through all these important moments of grace – and I’m going to continue that yes, every moment of my life.”