Mary's Secret of Joy

Mary's Secret of Joy

May is a great time for thinking about decisions and futures. We celebrate ordinations, graduations, weddings…. We honor what has been achieved in people’s lives or our own, and we turn our eyes toward the next stage of our journey in life, whatever it may be.

It is a wonderful blessing to us all that in the month of May we reflect on Mary, a woman who had to make a very important decision when she was probably just in her teenage years. She shows us the courageous spirit that makes decision-making a joy, that deepens our excitement, roots our determination, and strengthens our desire, in the face of the unknown.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she, a virgin, was confronted with a baffling mystery—a unique event in the history of the world that would never be repeated: She would conceive a child without a human father, and that child would be God. She did not ask herself if she were strong enough or smart enough or good enough to do what the angel proposed. That would only have led to discouragement. She simply said yes; she allowed God to decide everything, to arrange everything. She asked no questions. She raised no dust. She attracted no attention. She joyfully gave God her consent.

In his Gospel, Luke uses words for Mary’s consent that are used nowhere else in the entire New Testament in this same way. Her “be it done to me according to your word” was not just a simple acceptance. Nor was it the same kind of “Let your will be done” that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane—a prayer of resignation and surrender. Rather, Luke uses a word in Greek that signifies in Mary a joyous desire to collaborate with what God foresees for her. It is the joy of total abandonment to the good will of God. The entire annunciation narrative is really an invitation to joy, “Rejoice, O favored daughter” (cf. Lk 1:28); “May it be to me as you say!” (cf. Lk 1:38).

To respond with a joyful desire to collaborate with God is to respond with no calculations, no weighing of the options, no taking care of important business first. Mary lays everything before God and gives him the prerogative to lay things out as he sees fit. She boldly abandons herself into the hands of the Father, accepting all the risks, submitting herself to all the eventualities and crises that the future might bring. Thus she enters into the salvation event—a mother in faith an a mother in fact.

This month we might want to reassess how we are living our vocation, to rediscover the joy that comes from a Marian-style of life and decision-making.

Blessed May,
Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP 

You might also want to read: Six Steps to Knowing What God Desires of You



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  • I just heard of this website ,I take care of my mother who is 101,god has given me the strength,& courage to care for her with grace I look forward to reading some of your app
    5/27/2014 5:23:18 PM Reply
  • I thank you so very kindly Sr. for an awakening note on the Month of May. THE PROPER MONTH OF THE BLESSED MOTHER. Hence , it has given me the realization of entrusting everything to GOD , as I am his child and HE my Father. In Jesus name... ISF/ Phil-Macau Province
    5/19/2014 8:29:58 PM Reply
  • When I pray the the Rosary, I have made short phrases to help me meditate on them. It just so happens that my meditation phrase for the Joyful Mystery is "To be open to God's will for me".
    5/19/2014 12:26:09 PM Reply
  • I thank you for your email and readings you send, great to read and know more. I am in Australia, age 87 in September. My prayers to Jesus, Mary & Joseph for daily help. I especially pray for the many that our lost sheep today. I know my prayers will be heard. I am dedicated to St Joseph, he is great help. I carry His medal and picture. I also follow, daily at 9.30, prayers, Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have an app that helps. I lost my wife on 28th June 2007, please remember her in your prayers. The years slip away but memories never fade. Married in 1954. Thank you, God Bless.
    5/17/2014 3:53:10 PM Reply
    • @Ivor Mendes: Know that I am in prayer for you, sharing your spirit of devotion and love and trust in God's love.
      5/19/2014 1:02:30 AM Reply

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