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Mother of God

I Am Yours…TOTALLY!


 

Earlier today, I renewed my Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary that I first made on October 7, 2011. Since consecrating my life for the first time, “Mom” has taken me to places that I could never have imagined. Not only have I grown to love her more, but I’ve grown to love her Son more than I ever thought possible. The fact that a lukewarm, comfort-loving coward like me is now working full time as a Catholic Evangelist is absolute proof that Total Consecration “works”! I owe everything to Mary’s intercession and I can’t begin to put my praise for Total Consecration into words. If you haven’t made your Total Consecration, you don’t know what you’re missing!

As I prayed the Morning Glory Consecration Prayer (composed by Fr. Michael Gaitley) earlier today, I was struck by the following line:

Mary, I give you my heart. Please set it on fire with love for Jesus. Make it always attentive to his burning thirst for love and for souls. Keep my heart in your most pure Heart that I may love Jesus and the members of his Body with your own perfect love.

Over the years, I’ve failed miserably at this. I haven’t loved souls…ALL SOULS…like Jesus does. I’ve ignored many individuals whom I’ve found difficult or annoying. I’ve turned my back on people who offended or insulted me. I haven’t shown them the mercy that Jesus has shown me. That chain in the picture above reminds me that I have a helper who will never leave my side. She will help me to love others with her Immaculate Heart and I need her help. As I look at the words, “I am yours TOTALLY” that I wear around my wrist, I’m reminded of the promise that I made two years ago. It is a promise that I renew today in a formal way. Although Mary is doing most of the work, I have to trust her and listen when she speaks. I’m gonna try to get better at that…I promise!

I love you, “Mom” and I’d be lost without you. I am yours…TOTALLY!

Listen To Your Blessed Mother Is Now Available!


 

This is a big week for me. On August 7th, I’ll be heading to the Catholic Marketing Network’s annual trade show. This year the show will take place in Somerset, NJ and I’ll be joining a “who’s who” of prominent Catholic authors and personalities as we come together to showcase our latest works. It will be a big thrill to officially debut my latest book, Listen To Your Blessed Mother, and to meet many of the retailers who will be carrying the book.

While at the trade show, I’ll be making several appearances (in person and on the radio). Here is my current schedule:

Author Reception (Grand Ballroom, DoubleTree Hotel)
Wednesday, August 7, 5:15 to 6:45 pm

Author Booth Signings (Liguori Booth #708)
Thursday, August 8th, 3:30 to 4:30 pm

Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo
Thursday August 8th at 9:40 am Eastern

EWTN Radio “Live from the CMN” with Thom Price
Friday August 9th at 10:15 am Eastern

Some people have asked me why I felt the desire to write a book about the Blessed Mother. Aren’t there already many books about Mary? To be totally honest, although several books have been written about Our Lady, there was a void. When I searched for a book that focused on Mary’s words in Scripture, I couldn’t find one. As a result, I felt called to write it. As I started to work on the project, I made the decision to also include all of Mary’s Biblical appearances, even when her spoken words were not recorded. The end result is that through this book, you’ll learn how to “hear” the Blessed Mother speak to you through the pages of the Bible. And her message is POWERFUL!

If you’ve ever wanted to get closer to Mary, if you want to better understand her words in Scripture or if you’re looking for a resource for your prayer group or Bible study, this book is for you. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter will help guide you, as you “listen” to Mary’s voice speaking directly to you. Order your copy (at a 25% discount) by going to the following link and remember to…

Listen To Your Blessed Mother!

“Biblical, personal, engaging, and thought provoking are just a few words that come to mind when reading this wonderful book! The Virgin Mary truly is our BLESSED Mother, and listening to her words in Scripture can help us to become blessed, too. Gary Zimak has done a great service for both Catholics and non-Catholics in offering a book that unpacks the biblical words of Mary in a very conversational and easy-to-follow style. The reflection questions and points to ponder at the end of each section will be of great benefit to the reader, too! I highly recommend this book!”

(Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, STL, Author – Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest)

Listen To Your Blessed Mother: Confusion


 

“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34)

One day, God dispatched an angel named Gabriel to a city of Galilee named Nazareth. He urged her to not be afraid and assured Mary that she had found favor with God. Then he proceeded to explain the purpose of his visit, a purpose which would be enough to make most people afraid. Mary was given the details of a plan that would have her conceiving a son. That son, named Jesus, “will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:32-33) While you and I may look at these words and be confused as to what’s being asked, a devout Jewish girl would have known exactly what was being stated. Mary was being asked to become the mother of the Messiah!

After the angel finished speaking, Mary was confused and asked a simple question – “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Lk 1:34) Some people will look at Mary’s words and wrongly conclude that her faith was weak. She’ll be compared to Zechariah who, a few verses earlier, doubted Gabriel’s prophecy about the pregnancy of his wife. Didn’t Mary and Zechariah both doubt the angel’s message? Not at all. Mary believed and Zechariah doubted. How do I know, you might ask? The answer lies in Gabriel’s reaction. After Zechariah’s question, the angel stated that he “didn’t believe his words” (Lk 1:20). Mary received no such rebuke because, unlike Zechariah, she was simply asking for details.

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that, although Mary was sinless, she was still human. Being chosen to become the mother of God didn’t automatically give her all the answers. Like us, there were times when Mary had questions about God’s will. Even though she always wanted to follow the Lord’s plan for her life, she was sometimes confused and needed to discern His will. As for Our Lady’s question to the angel, some background is necessary in order to understand what she is asking. The common belief of many theologians throughout the years (including Blessed Pope John Paul II, St. Augustine and St. Gregory of Nyssa) is that Mary was confused because she had consecrated her virginity to the Lord. Although unusual for married people, this practice was not unheard of in Mary’s time. This theory is supported by looking at Gabriel’s words. He told Mary that she would conceive and bear a son named Jesus. He didn’t say when, only that it would happen at some point in time. Since Mary was engaged to Joseph, it would be expected that she’d bear his children, therefore there’s nothing unusual about the message…unless she vowed to remain a virgin. Always desiring to do what’s right, Mary made a decision to do what she thought was best, but then Gabriel appeared with some new information. When informed that God wanted her to have a child, Mary needed to reevaluate her plan. Wanting to fulfill the will of God in her life, she needed to ask the important question. How can this be? Please tell me the details so I can cooperate with God’s plan. Far from doubting, Our Lady was pondering Gabriel’s astonishing message and was asking for guidance in carrying out God’s will.

Mary’s words to the angel remind us that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask questions. If you feel that God is asking you to do something, but you’re not sure how it’s possible, go ahead and ask Him for details. Mary did. If you’re carrying a heavy cross and can’t understand why, ask the Lord to enlighten you. Unfortunately, I can’t promise that you’ll get the answer you want. Instead, the Lord’s answer may be, “trust me”. If that’s the case, you may be asked (like Mary) to go along with His plan without knowing all of the fine details. If you have a difficult time doing that…join the club! However, don’t ever forget that Mary can help you tremendously. As someone who’s “been there, done that”, she knows exactly what you’re going through. Turn to her and ask her to share some of her faith with you. I can guarantee you that, as stated in the Memorare, “never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help, or sought her intercession was left unaided.”

The Message: God has a plan for my life and wants to make it known to me. Through prayer and careful listening, I can become aware of that plan and put it into action.

(The above is an excerpt from Listen To Your Blessed Mother – Mary’s Words In Scripture, the latest book from Gary Zimak. As someone who always sought to follow God’s will, Mary can teach us how to be better Christians and will help us to grow closer to Jesus. By looking very carefully at Our Lady’s words and actions as recorded in the Bible, we can “hear” her voice and benefit greatly from her motherly advice.)

PREORDER NOW AT A 20 % DISCOUNT!!!

Coming Soon…Listen To Your Blessed Mother!

 

I’m excited to officially announce my second book, Listen To Your Blessed Mother (Mary’s Words In Scripture). Coming in August 2013 from Liguori Publications, it will be a reflection on Mary’s words in the Bible. Matt Swaim, author and producer of EWTN Radio’s Son Rise Morning Show, has graciously agreed to write the foreword.

This book has been a labor of love and I’m anxious to share my thoughts on my Blessed Mother with you. The idea started when I did a series of blog posts and segments on The Son Rise Morning Show. When we listen to Mary’s words and observe her actions, we can learn more about our Faith than from a library full of books. I can personally attest to the fact that the more we love Mary, the more we will love Jesus.

I’d appreciate it if you’d keep this project in your prayers and help me to spread the word. I’ll provide more details as soon as I can.

Total Consecration Summary (Day 1-12)


 

As you may be aware, on September 4th I began leading 880 people as we prepare for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary on October 7th. Using my daily radio show on BlogTalkRadio, I’ve been reading and explaining the preparation prayers and meditations. On Saturday, we completed the first stage of the journey – 12 days spent trying to rid ourselves of the spirit of the world. In an attempt to summarize our accomplishments, I sent the following email message to all participants. If you’re interested in learning more about this great devotion, please email Me . I guarantee it will change your life!

Congratulations!

We have completed the first phase of the process. It’s important to remember that the first 12 days of Preparation for Total Consecration are designed to help rid ourselves of the spirit of the world. More accurately, they are designed to help us recognize the influence that the world has over us. It will probably take a lot more than 12 days to completely rid ourselves of the world’s influence, but this period is certainly a start.

What have we accomplished? Here are some questions that should make you think. They represent some of the lessons that we should have learned in the first 12 days.

Are you aware that you have been called to holiness?

Did you dedicate a firm amount of time to spend on the exercises each day?

Have you decided on an act of sacrifice for the remainder of the preparation period?

What are the excuses that you make for not responding to God’s will?

Do you boldly proclaim the truth of the Catholic Faith or do you sometimes hold back, choosing the path of least resistance?

Do your external religious practices match your interior devotions or are you sometimes hypocritical?

What is your most common temptation and how do you fight against it?

Have you decided when you will go to Confession during the preparation period?

Which of Mary’s virtues have you chosen to imitate?

Have you identified a persistent sin in your life that you are not fighting against? Why not?

How can you better participate in Mass on Sunday?

In your daily life, how can you become a light in the darkness?

If you think you could have done better during the initial period, don’t panic. Instead, be thankful that you are aware of your shortcoming and use this knowledge to try to do better in the next phase. Be aware that the evil one doesn’t want you to complete this process and will do everything in his power to get you to quit. One of his favorite ways is to make you think that you’re not doing a good job. DON’T FALL FOR IT!!!

May God bless each of you as you continue on the journey which will bring you closer to Him! Let me know if I can be of service to you.

In Christ,
Gary

Happy Birthday, Mom!


 

“Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)

On this day, the Church celebrates the birth of Mary, the Mother of God. She is a great gift, given to each one of us by Jesus (John 19:26-27) as He suffered and died on the cross. If you haven’t already done so, today would be a good day to accept the gift of the Blessed Mother into your life. She is standing by, ready to lead you closer to Jesus. Tell her you love her, thank her for saying “yes” to God’s request, and be sure to tell her your needs. She wants to hear about your problems and will take them to the Lord, just as she did at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11).

I love you, Mom…Happy Birthday!

Why I Wear A Scapular


 

On this day, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Tradition tells us that Our Lady presented St. Simon Stock with the brown scapular in 1251. Just what is a scapular? According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:

The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.

Even though I am a cradle Catholic and have always gone to Mass regularly, I used to think that people who wore scapulars were a little flaky. Rather than just be “normal” like me, I believed that those “scapular wearers” were oddballs who embraced apparitions and phony visions of the Blessed Mother. Why can’t they just be “regular” Catholics, like me instead of believing in something superstitious like the scapular? Most of all, I would never wear a scapular because someone might see it and think I’m weird.

How do I feel now? Every morning I kiss my brown scapular and say to Our Lady, “Blessed Mother, I am all thine and all that I have is thine!” I then put on the powerful sacramental knowing that Mary will help me to stay close to Jesus as I do battle with the forces of evil (and don’t kid yourself…they are all around us!) that threaten me constantly. I wear Our Lady’s scapular because it is a sacramental which better disposes me to receive the grace that I need to be a better Christian. I am proud that I wear the scapular and I hope people see it for what it is, a visible sign of my love for Mary and my trust in her intercessory powers. Most importantly, I wear the scapular because I am a comfort-loving, cowardly, self-centered sinner and I desperately need Mary’s help to keep me close to her Son and help me remain on the road that will lead to Eternal Life in Heaven.

That’s why I wear a scapular!

Mary And The Eucharist

 

“If we wish to discover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church…Mary can guide us toward this most holy sacrament because she herself has a profound relationship with it.” (Blessed Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia)

At the center of our Catholic Faith is the belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Unfortunately, we often lose sight of or don’t appreciate the profound blessing that we have been granted. If we desire to become better Catholics and improve our relationship with the Lord, we must deepen our love for the Eucharist. How can we do so? One of the best and most underutilized ways is to turn to the Mother of Jesus, Mary. By getting to know her and studying her life, we can grow closer to Our Lord who is fully present in the Eucharist. In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Blessed Pope John Paul II devotes an entire chapter to Mary, “Woman of the Eucharist”. Let’s examine some of his thoughts on how Our Lady can help us better understand the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Sometimes referred to as Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Mary can take us by the hand and lead us to a closer relationship with the Eucharistic Christ. While observing that “at first glance”, the Gospel is silent on the subject of Mary and the Eucharist, the late Holy Father makes an interesting observation. We know that Mary was present with the apostles who prayed “with one accord” (Acts 1:14) for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it follows that Mary was most certainly present at the Eucharistic celebrations of the early Christians who were devoted to “the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42). Blessed John Paul II then points to Mary’s interior disposition and observes that Mary is a “woman of the Eucharist” in her whole life.

A Mystery of Faith
Scripture tells us that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Eucharist is certainly a mystery of faith and cannot be grasped by our limited human understanding. Accepting Jesus’ command to “Do this in memory of me”, requires us to deny our senses and humbly submit to His instruction. What better advice can we be given than the words of Mary at the wedding feast of Cana when she stated, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5)? Just as He changed water into wine, He can turn ordinary bread and wine into His Body and Blood. By listening to Mary’s advice, we can accept (without fully understanding) the miracle that occurs on the altar and embrace Our Lord’s words, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54).

The Fiat and the Amen
By offering her womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word, Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist. At the Annunciation, when Mary conceived the Son of God, she foreshadowed what happens to us when we receive Holy Communion. As a result, according to Blessed John Paul II, “there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the Body of the Lord”. Although we sometimes forget the significance of our response to the words “The Body of Christ”, by replying “Amen” we are expressing our belief that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. Mary’s belief in the mystery of the Annunciation (“Blessed is she who believed”) anticipates the Church’s belief in the Eucharist.

Sacrifice
It is impossible to deny that there is a sacrificial dimension to the Eucharist. The Body and Blood of He whom we receive in this great sacrament was sacrificed for our redemption. Just as suffering was a major part of Our Lord’s life, it was a constant theme in the life of Mary. Beginning with Simeon’s crucifixion prophecy at the Lord’s Presentation (“a sword will pierce your soul”) and culminating with Our Lord’s death on the Cross, Mary had a very real share in the suffering of Christ. In this encyclical, the Holy Father made the following profound observation:

In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of “anticipated Eucharist” – one might say a “spiritual communion” – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion.

The Magnificat
According to Blessed Pope John Paul II, “in the Eucharist the Church is completely united to Christ and His sacrifice and makes her own the spirit of Mary. This truth can be understood more deeply by re-reading the Magnificat in a Eucharistic key”. He points out that when Mary proclaims “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”, she is praising God “through” Jesus (who is in her womb), “in” Jesus and “with” Jesus. This, he observes, is the true “Eucharistic attitude” and that “the Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat”. Saint Louis de Montfort, who greatly inspired John Paul II, recommended that the Magnificat be recited after the reception of Holy Communion. In doing so, we unite our voice with that of Mary and allow our often weak faith to be infused by her perfect and unfailing faith!

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.

During this month devoted to Mary, why not take some time and meditate on her role as Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament? There is no better person to help us increase our appreciation for the Eucharist than the Mother of Our Lord. She knows Him better than any other human. Ask her to help you believe the “unbelievable”!

“Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist.” (Blessed Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia)

Listening To Mary’s Voice – Part 4 (The Magnificat)

 

As we continue our look at Mary’s words in the Bible, the scene shifts from Mary’s encounter with Gabriel (the Annunciation) and moves to her visit with Elizabeth (the Visitation).  After traveling in haste to be with her pregnant relative, Mary is greeted with the words:

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:42-45)

Mary, in turn, responds with the great prayer that we’ve come to know as the Magnificat:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”(Luke 1:46-55)

By listening to Mary’s words and studying this visit with Elizabeth, we see a concise overview of our Blessed Mother’s virtues.  Let’s examine some of them:

1. Mary’s Humility – The humility of the Blessed Mother can be seen in her response to Elizabeth’s words of praise.  Instead of accepting the compliments and taking full credit for her “being blessed”, Mary instead praises the Lord.  She knows that God is the source of her goodness.  That is TRUE humility!

2. Mary’s Gratitude – The words of Mary’s prayer illustrate her gratitude to Almighty God.  Beginning with the initial proclamation of joy for her salvation (Mary needed a savior, but as written by Pope Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus, she was saved “by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ”), we see someone who is very grateful for God’s unmerited gift.  Basing her remaining words on the Song of Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10) and other Old Testament passages, Mary uses her knowledge of Scripture to express a deep appreciation for the Lord’s benevolence.

3. Mary’s Love For Her Neighbor – As soon as Mary discovered that Elizabeth was pregnant, she went “with haste” (Lk 1:39) to visit her.  Not worrying about the inconvenience that goes along with being pregnant and traveling to the hill country, Mary put the needs of Elizabeth ahead of her own comfort.  As a further example of her concern for the well being of others, Mary stayed with her elderly relative for 3 months (Lk 1:56) before returning home.  When one considers what was going on in her own life, Mary’s actions provide us with a tremendous example of what it means to “love thy neighbor” without counting the cost.

4. Mary’s Faith –  Giving us further scriptural proof that Mary embraced and believed the incredulous words of Gabriel, Elizabeth proclaimed “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)  In his book The Glories Of Mary, Saint Alphonsus Liguori stated that “it was as a tribute to her faith that Elizabeth called Our Lady blessed.”  Mary trusted fully in God and did whatever He asked, thus giving credibility to her words, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord”!

5. Mary’s Obedience –  Although some people are disturbed by the term “fear of the Lord”, Mary understands the true meaning of the concept.  When she states “His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him”, the Blessed Mother acknowledges the importance of obeying God’s commandments as an expression of love! Those who truly love the Lord have a fear of being separated from Him or letting Him down.  That desire to please Him results in obedience.  According to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, obedience “springs from the love of an order and of Him who gave it…Obedience is servility only to those who have not understood the spontaneity of love.” (The World’s First Love)  Mary reminds us that we should obey the Lord because we love Him and don’t want to disappoint Him!

As we read through the words of Mary’s Magnificat, we see a heartfelt profession of faith from someone who was grateful for God’s mercy and providence in her life.  Too often, we take the Lord’s mercy for granted and don’t trust in His providence.  May our Blessed Mother intercede for us and help us to love God with all our hearts and truly “rejoice in Jesus Christ, Our Savior”!

Listening To Mary’s Voice – Part 3 (Submission)

 

As we continue with Part 3 of a 7-Part series on Mary’s words in Scripture, I’ll be taking a look at the final words of the Blessed Mother to the angel Gabriel.  Last time we focused on Mary’s declaration that she is the Lord’s handmaid (servant).  Essentially, Mary informed Gabriel that she considers herself to be the Lord’s servant.  Furthermore, as a sign that she fully accepts her mission to bring the Savior into the world, Mary adds the words:

“May it be done to me according to your word. ” (Luke 1:38)

A recap of the facts helps to illustrate the profundity of Mary’s statement.  She has just been informed that:

1. She will become the mother of the Son of God while being able to retain her virginity.

2. The virgin pregnancy and birth will come about through the action of the Holy Spirit.

3. Elizabeth (her elderly relative) is now six months pregnant.

4. All of this will happen because “nothing will be impossible for God”.

After hearing the details, most of us would have many more questions and would be begging the angel to stick around.  Mary, on the other hand, heard all that she needed to hear.  In fact, Gabriel’s final statement surely wasn’t news to Mary at all.  To someone with a strong faith, a belief that God can do all things is implied.  Contrasting Mary’s faith with my own faith is painful, but enlightening.  Hardly a day goes by when I don’t question the Lord’s ability to resolve some crisis in my life.  Although the angel’s words are right there in Scripture and they are etched in my memory, I need to get better at believing them.  As long as I’m comparing Mary with myself, there’s another really big difference. Mary didn’t even flinch at the fact that her pregnancy is going to be really difficult to explain to Joseph, her family and to just about all of her other relatives and friends.  That’s because she loved God with all of her heart and TRULY was His servant.  The fact that she was going to be inconvenienced didn’t matter to her.  She meant what she just said about being the Lord’s handmaid.  If He wanted her to do something, she would do it with no questions asked.  Is anyone else feeling really inadequate right now?

Each day, you and I are given the opportunity to say “yes” to God.  Like Mary, we are often asked to submit to His will without knowing all of the details.  Whether it’s being open to having additional children, pursuing a religious vocation or contributing more to charitable causes, the Lord often requests our consent.  Are we so concerned about the details or potential difficulties that we say “no thanks”?  Or, like the Blessed Mother, do we declare ourselves to be the Lord’s servants, trusting in His providence?

While discerning God’s will often requires prayer and meditation, sometimes it’s A LOT easier to discover.  By simply accepting those things that happen to us on a daily basis (at our jobs, in our families, when we become ill), we are saying “yes” to God and following His will.  When asked how to determine God’s will, Mother Angelica replied, “Honey, if it’s happening, it’s God’s will; and you have to correspond with it in the present moment”.  When unpleasant or painful events occur in our lives, we can complain or we can echo the words of Our Blessed Mother…

“May it be done to me according to your word. ”

“Mary was like a wheel which was easily turned by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Her only object in the world was to keep her eyes constantly fixed on God, to learn His will, and then to perform it.” (St. Bernardine of Siena)

Next Time: The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)