Prior to the Annunciation, Mary’s life was a series of small choices for God, but there came a point when He “popped the question”. God wasn’t asking for small sacrifices and prayers. He wanted her life, her body and her future. Any plans she had made would be turned upside down. There was a chance of death by stoning. She was faced with the choice, “Do I give God everything, even my life if need be? ”
Mary, like us, could only see so far. Little did she know that a year later she would be a refugee in Egypt after fleeing an unthinkably horrible massacre. For the saints, the words “they lived happily ever after” have no meaning until their deaths.
Mary also could not know the unspeakable joy of having Love itself dwell within her womb and suckle at her breast, but this she could imagine. All she did know was that God was offering to her blessings and position beyond anything a mortal could deserve. As a reward, she lived each day in intimate union with the Holy Spirit and the Son of God.
After a lifetime of perfect obedience, the Father popped the question to Jesus. He unlike us, did know exactly what He was being called to give. He knew all the suffering it would entail and it distressed Him so much He sweat blood. He had lived in constant union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Now, He would feel that separation from God in His flesh, although He could never be anything but One in His deity. The Father’s cup held suffering which no other human could withstand.
Jesus also knew intimately all those who would be saved through His sacrifice. For love of us, and the glory set before Him, He endured the Cross. The weight of all humanity was literally resting on His shoulders. He like His mother before Him gave His total commitment to the Father.
Many Christians are like Mary before the Annunciation. We lead lives of small sacrifices and prayers to God but we are called to be saints! God will ask us the question. “Will you bring the light of Christ to the world like Mary?” and “Will you pick up your cross and follow Jesus, to your death if need be?”
We don’t know the unity with God we will experience nor do we know the level of suffering that we will encounter. What we do know are the promises of Christ and the testimony of the saints who have gone before us. St. Paul tells us, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with glory that is to be revealed to us” Jesus compared His suffering to labor pains that while intense are quickly forgotten when the birth comes. He also tells us that He will not leave us orphaned. The Holy Spirit will come to guide us and support us.
God is happy with any small sacrifice or prayer that you give Him, and it will not be without its reward. But God is not satisfied and until you have totally surrendered yourself to Him.
Scriptures referenced: Luke 1, Luke 22:39-46 , Romans 8:18, John 14
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