On Sunday, August 16, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his Angelus reflections to Our Lady. Speaking to 4,000 people gathered in the courtyard of Castel Gandolfo’s apostolic palace, he explained that, like Mary, Catholics are called to say yes to God. His reflection touches on themes found in various rosary mysteries such as the Annunciation, the Assumption, and the Institution of the Eucharist. We should ask ourselves, do we have the faith to say yes to God as Mary did and the strength to carry out His will?
Here is what Pope Benedict said as reported on the Catholic News Agency:
“What happened to Mary is also valid for every man and woman,” he expounded. “God asks each of us to welcome him, to make available to him our hearts, our bodies, our entire existence, so that he can dwell in the world. He calls us to join ourselves to him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, to form the Church together…by the very nature of our yes, that mysterious exchange also happens to and in us. We are assumed in the divinity of he who assumed our humanity.”
I like this idea that Mary not only said yes to God’s will, but also welcomed Him and made Him available to her heart. I think often, even when we do God’s will, we do it begrudgingly and without a lot of joy. We tend to think of God’s will as a burden, not a gift. Of course going to Mass, receiving the sacraments, and following God’ laws are good things and something we should always strive to do. But we should also remember than when we do say yes to God we receive a gift of grace which should fill our hearts with joy. Who doesn’t find it even a little bit exciting that God lives within us when we accept His will? With that prospect of God working through us, we should not only say yes to Him, but we should also jump at the opportunity with passion and vigor.
I think Mary had a very good understanding of the benefits and joy that come out of saying yes to God. Did following God’s will make her life easier? Of course not. She was burdened with the scandle of an unwed pregnancy and then the sorrow of seeing her son crucified. But I think she understood that these earthly burdens were minimal when compared to the eternal rewards of living in God’s grace. I think we often forget about the infinite treasures of heaven amongst our daily struggles. Because this heavenly reward is something beyond our understanding, we tend to lose sight of it and settle for meager substitutes. We fall into sin doing things that make us temporarily happy now instead of taking that harder road that will ultimately lead to eternal happiness. So let us listen to Pope Benedict and be like Mary. Let us not only say yes to God, but say yes with the joy of knowing that following His plan for us will lead to a happiness greater than anything we can imagine. And let us pray for everyone who has lost sight of that goal and have said no to God either through their words, thoughts, or actions.
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