Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Freedom of God's Will

           Let me start by saying that I will not always be posting this frequently, but I felt inspired to share with you a short reflection based on the feast of the Annunciation, which we celebrated yesterday. Don't worry if you thought, "Yea, but April 8th is more than 9 months before Christmas!" I thought the same thing...the feast was moved to this Monday because March 25th fell in Holy Week. Better late than never, right?

          There is so much that can be said about the Annunciation, when Mary gave her YES to God, becoming the Mother of our Lord. My reflection is taken from something I read in one of my iphone apps. Since I'm a poor college grad living at home, I cannot afford to buy myself the daily reading missals (like Magnificat). Instead, I've downloaded a couple free apps to my phone - Laudate and RC Calendar. Using these, I can look up the Mass readings, pray the rosary, read the Bible, and pray the Divine Office. How cool is that?!? Sometimes, these apps also have great reflections in them. Yesterday, I was reading RC Calendar's reflection for the Annunciation and was struck by a few things. First was this quote:

        "If God really wants us to do something he'll sweep us off our feet the way he did 
Mary, and if he chooses not to, it's hardly our fault, is it?"

           To backtrack, this reflection was defending the idea that Mary had absolute free will in her choice to become the Mother of God. Often, the argument is made that Mary, because of her lack of sin, was not able to say no to God's request. I held this belief for a long time. How could someone who walked so closely to the Lord have denied him in any way? It is important to remember that just because Mary was born/conceived without original sin (the Immaculate Conception), does not wipe away her innate God-given ability to choose. Everyone has to make choices on a daily basis; some are big and some are small. Most choices, especially if we are living a life of faith, are made between two good things and we are left to discern which way we think God is asking us to go. Sometimes, we become so obsessed with discerning God's will in our life (we think this is the only road to happiness) that we become bogged down and miserable. Instead of letting God search us out and reveal himself to us, we go on a massive, endless manhunt. I have been there! Throughout college, I was discerning whether God was calling me to marriage or religious life - two beautiful, but different paths. I was determined to find the answer by the time I graduated, but ended up being miserable when I couldn't say yes to one of these paths. I was afraid of missing that ONE moment, but what I had forgotten is that God created me and he knows me. He won't let me miss him....in fact, if he wants me to do something, he will sweep me off my feet. And that's the moment that turned my entire discernment on its head, if you will. :) In the moment that the Lord nudged me and invited me to explore more deeply one of these paths, he also made it very clear in my heart that I could say no. Even more, I had the sense that if I did say no I would still be happy in the end! Do you know why? It's because the Lord loves me in a way that I cannot comprehend. He has given us free will and he respects our decisions. No matter what we decide, he will keep loving us in that profound way. How freeing is that knowledge?!? 

            So, Mary had a choice to make and she said yes to becoming the Mother of our Savior. (Imagine, even if she had declined the offer, God would have loved her in the same manner!) THANK YOU, MAMA! Everyday, I pray for the same docility, to have the courage and the wisdom to joyfully say yes when God sweeps me off my feet. 

               I will leave you with another, astounding quote from this reflection: 

             "The Almighty Father creates heaven and earth, the sun and all the stars; but when he really wants something done, he comes, the Omnipotent and Omniscient, to one of his poor, weak creatures - and he asks. And, day by day, he keeps on asking us."

            What is the Lord asking of you today? 

Daniel Bonnell, The Annunciation, bonnellart.com

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