Our Lady has always been my guiding star. Throughout my life, I have seen how much she has cared for me and has directed me to the heart of her son. During the Christmas season, I love to ponder on how the “yes” of a virgin, named Mary, at the Annunciation, made the miracle of the first Christmas possible. Mary opened herself to the will of God, helping him fulfill his plan of sending his son, Jesus, to all of us.
Mary helps us foster the gift of faith. The great spiritual writer, St. Alphonsus Liguori, said this of Our Lady:
The Blessed Virgin had to have more faith than all people and all angels. She saw her son in the crib in Bethlehem and believed him to be the Creator of the world; she saw him run into exile from Herod and believed him to be the King of Kings; she saw that he did not speak and believed him to be the Word of Eternal Wisdom. To identify with Mary in faith is to be open to receive what she received, the warmth of God’s love through his son, Jesus Christ.
This is a beautiful depiction of the miracle of love given to us all through our Holy Mother who stands for humility, simplicity and charity. All this was made possible by her deep faith in God and his promises. Though Mary came from a modest background, she was called by God to fulfill an extraordinary role.
Mary’s openness to God meant a disruption to her plans and brought many challenges to her life. With her acceptance of God’s will, she chose to trust his plans even though they were radical and unprecedented. How many times have we felt God’s hand on the rudder of our lives, steering us away from our plans? When we say “yes,” we accept God’s invitation to deepen our relationship with him.
Although I am no theologian, I do know that God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus because she, herself, was the only fitting mother for God in the flesh. That’s because Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother in a miraculous way – without sin. What a great plan God, the Father, had for the universe! He found the perfect vessel for his son in Mary, the Immaculate!
I can only imagine the encounter of Mary with the angel Gabriel. She was perplexed, but this did not usurp her willingness to respond. Her willingness came from a sincere trust in God with whom she was intimately familiar. She had questions, but she did not doubt! She professed her belief by declaring she was willing to be a mother for the Lord! Our Lady was willing to surrender and sacrifice for God’s purposes in her life. She chose to trust God! She accepted her role and committed to it with grace and humility.
Like Mary, I want to grow in intimacy with God; to surrender my plans in order to be a part of God’s big plan. We often develop narratives outlining how we expect our lives to unfold. God makes alterations to those narratives and our hearts should leap with a longing to say, “YES” to these modifications! May the shadows of fear, doubt and uncertainty disappear in our lives as we remember that humanity was saved because Mary trusted in the infinitely great plans of God. Every single day, God presents us with new opportunities to take part in his plan. Let us, like Mary, choose to trust God and accept his invitations! May Mother Mary intercede for us all and may she help us, through her example, to reach sainthood and continue to say “yes” to God!
Leiri Bocanegra was born in Villalba, Puerto Rico but now resides in Massachusetts with her Husband and four children. Leiri and her husband Gustavo met in their parish youth group, “Agape,” and have been serving together ever since! You can usually find them singing together at church events and retreats! Leiri works as the Coordinator of Outreach and Evangelization for St. Mary’s Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also has a nursing background in both Geriatrics and Pediatrics. She has been a member of the Holy Family Institute for six years and enjoys Family Ministry. Her biggest accomplishment has been becoming a mother. She enjoys being able to use social platforms to help other Catholic mothers connect and assist one another through the wonderful vocation of motherhood!