1. I’ve begun pre-writing posts, so the fact that this is appearing is not at all indicative of whether Monkey has been born yet or not. Unless I say otherwise, you may want to assume that all the BISsisterhood posts have been pre-written/written while pregnant.
2. I like publishing my post the day before the link up goes live on Blessed Is She – and today it worked out perfectly.}
Obedience. Honestly, I tend to laugh at the word. I know what it means, but I don’t always (or often) think of myself as an obedient person. That isn’t to say that I’m a rebel or necessarily disobedient, but obedience isn’t a quality I tend to pride myself on.
The truth is that I’m a sinner, so I’m inherently disobedient. I don’t follow God’s commands perfectly. Even more true is the fact that there’s pride buried deep in me, pride that scoffs at the idea of being so obedient as to give up my life entirely to His notion, His will, His plan – anything other than me, myself and I. To be so obedient is scary; like walking on water, I am sure I cannot do it.
But then I look to Mary. Today we honor her on the Solemnity of the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she would carry God’s Son. Talk about obedience! Here I sit, struggling to know and clearly follow God’s will for my life, and then there is Mary who never seemed to flinch. “Carry God’s Son. Even though you’ve had no relations with a man. Cool?” “Let it be done unto me!” That’s it. She trusts, she obeys, she follows, the end.
When we look at the story of the Annunciation it appears so simple, so easy. And why can’t it be? We don’t see Mary having internal freak outs, going off to pray for days and wrestle her inner demons just to say yes to God, she simply says yes. Heaven knows (obviously) that if it were me, I’d have had a thousand more questions for Gabriel. Even after I practically assaulted him with questions, I probably would have wanted time to sit with it all and decide if I could really do what He was asking of me. But that’s the beauty of our faith: God gives us the free will to obey or to walk away.
Perhaps even more beautiful, though, is that He shows us what perfect obedience looks like and how joyous it can be. Mary lays herself at His feet throughout her life, from the Annunciation to her Assumption, from her fiat to Christ’s death on the cross. She follows Him, she obeys Him and she makes it look easy because, in reality, it can be. We die to ourselves and live for His will. St. Thérèse wrote, “God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.” God gives us the example of perfect obedience in Mary because He hopes to inspire that same obedience in each one of us, and to reward us as richly as He rewarded Mary.
May obedience be less of a struggle and more of a joy, as it was for Mary. May we imitate her perfect obedience in all that we do, striving to always follow God’s will rather than our own.