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What are you saying YES to?

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“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

With her fiat, Mary of Nazareth said “Yes” to God, agreeing to be the mother of our Savior, and forever changing the world.

Advent and Christmas are especially great opportunities to contemplate the times we’ve said yes to God in our lives, just as Mary did. We can also prayerfully consider those occasions when we should have said yes, but failed to do so, and make a commitment daily to follow Mary’s example.

Countless times a day God places real-world opportunities and challenges in my path and asks for my yes, but I fear and falter all too frequently. In my haste to remain in control, on top of all that’s on my plate, I neglect to truly and deeply ponder, pray, dream, and imagine the possibilities. I’m sure you’ve also experienced this in your life.

I have doubted, questioned, and even knowingly rejected my creed. I am, of course, a sinner – as are we all – but I am a hopeful one. I trust that God’s grace will save me and God wants you to say yes to his grace, too. After all, Jesus called fishermen, a repentant tax collector, and a woman of ill repute to be his followers; their “yes” were a radical trust that God had the perfect plan for their lives.

Mary must have understood that faith is the connection between our lingering doubts and the discipline of “Yes, Lord, I believe.” As I grow along my path as a Christian, I want to more radically commit to a generosity of spirit – a gift that God placed within me for the work He puts before me. That’s generous living; consistently and gently stoking the embers within us into blazing fires of action, mission,

transformative change, and loving service. When you and I err on the side of giving our own unique “yes” to God’s call, we have the capacity to rock our world. Mary certainly did.

Saying yes to God’s will means loving not only in ways that feel substantive and important, but also truly delivering our best effort, even when our hearts are not into the task at hand. Examples from the Beatitudes, are feeding the hungry by cooking a square meal in our own kitchen and clothing the naked by tackling our family’s huge laundry pile. At other times, our yes means volunteering at a shelter, being an RCIA sponsor, or donating food to the poor.

Truthfully, attaining that full and worthy yes will always be a work in progress. There will never be a day when I wake up and think, “Wow, I’m there. I’ve done it!” So the journey— each step along the path to heaven—is a daily decision to give my best and praise God for the grace of His accepting my tiny gift.

I want to walk my path to heaven mindfully, with diligence, exertion, joy, and love. Each day, I can’t wait to learn, discover, mess up, confess, have fun and perhaps even help a few people along the way. I can’t wait—at path’s end, and God willing—to fully discover the grace of my “yes.”

During this Advent and Christmas, let’s pray earnestly for the ability to say yes to God, our family, and the world around us, just as Mary did. With God as our Father and Mary at our side as our model, we have the potential to change the world.

LISA M. HENDEY is the founder of CatholicMom.com and the author of a number of books, including The Grace of Yes. Visit her at LisaHendey.com

This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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