“Love consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved. The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.” St. John of the Cross.
During Mass this weekend on retreat, the Priest addressed Mary’s fiat as part of his homily. He expressed the beauty in her continuous fiat. While listening, my heart was filled with wonder and awe at her perfect fiat, all the while embracing a reality that I had never really noticed – Mary’s fiat occurred continuously throughout Jesus’s life. It was not a one-time “yes.”
Wow. What profound wisdom God graced my heart with, something that seems so simple, yet really opened my eyes to the beauty of her motherhood and person. And while I am instantly reminded of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (representing the seven swords that would pierce Mary’s heart because of Christ’s life and her role as His mother), I am pulled deeper in love with her as my very own spiritual Mother and am reassured that my very own “yes” must happen continuously throughout my own life.
When I look over the years of my life and think of the moments I said “yes” to God, I am saddened by the realization that so many of those “yeses” were simply to avoid consequences or out of convenience; I reluctantly said “yes” because in my mind, that “yes” would serve me best. The majority of those yes’s weren’t done out of love for my Beloved. Yet, my Beloved searched my heart – a place reserved for Him, and He cut my “cord” … something I was clinging so tightly to. He knew it was the only way to bring me home into that Divine union so that I could truly be free.
Desiring that “yes” and ultimately submitting to it, regardless of what it brings, is the ultimate goal for all of us. That’s the funny thing about freedom – until all chains are broken and we are free of all worldly attachments, we are never truly free. It takes that Divine union to free us, something we must desire above all else.
I am in awe of the “yes’s” of Mary’s life as the Mother of the Messiah. She said “yes” to being His mother while all of Heaven held its breath; she said “yes” to bringing Him into this world in a stable after being told no again and again; she said “yes” when Simeon prophesied the swords that would pierce her heart; she said “yes” as He grew and became independent and inched closer to His death; and, I am most certain, the most challenging “yes” of all was when she watched time and time again the utter pain, mortification, and humiliation that came upon Him during His Passion for the salvation of the world. She stood right at His feet and watched Him take His last breaths on the cross. She said “yes” to God’s will, regardless of the pain she endured.
What about us? What do our “yeses” look like? Do we flee at the sight of unhappiness, of fear, of unease? Do we quit or give up simply because it’s hard? Or do we remind ourselves of the daily “yes” we must embrace, all the while remembering the freedom that comes with joining our Beloved on that very Cross?
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Betsey Sawyer is an attorney and adjunct professor in Mississippi, and works for Women of Grace as the Mission Advancement Coordinator. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Photo courtesy of Eliza Kennard Photography)