What if Mary hadn’t said yes?

Over 2,000 years ago, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Son of God. Despite the shock and confusion she experienced upon hearing those words, Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

But what if Mary’s fiat never happened? What if she hadn’t said ‘yes’ to God’s plan? Would things have happened differently? Would God have found another woman to take Mary’s place? This question was on the mind of a listener who called Go Ask Your FatherTM. The brilliant Msgr. Stuart Swetland helped to put things into perspective.

“Literally, God only knows. We can’t figure out hypotheticals because it hasn’t been revealed to us. The beautiful, beautiful, wonderful thing is that she said, ‘yes.’ She said, ‘fiat,’” he explained.

So what would have happened if she’d decided not to cooperate with God’s plan? We don’t know, and speculating what might have happened isn’t helpful, believes Msgr. Swetland. “All we can go on is the one world we have, the world where Mary said ‘yes’ and praise God that she did! … We can only speculate but I think sometimes there’s healthy speculation that gets us somewhere; in this case I don’t think it would.”

“I do know that whenever humans have rejected God and the things of God, God always finds a way for his will to be achieved,” said Msgr. Swetland. “So that old adage made famous by St. Mother Teresa that God writes straight with crooked lines; somehow God would still have worked his plan out. But his plan included Mary’s yes and she gave us that yes.”

Thank you, Blessed Mother, for your courageous and trusting fiat. You are the perfect example of love, faith, and humility. Thank you for your cooperation in God’s plan for our salvation.


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