“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38
What does obedience to God look like? Apparently more than just following rules. Like Jesus, and like Mary, it seems to have a lot to do with simply giving your life, trustingly, to God. Mary’s obedience led to great joy as we hear in her Magnificat. Why was she so blessed? Because she knew that her life was given over to God in faith and trust, and that the Lord had recognized and accepted her offering of trust.
As one who believed without question that God’s will would be fulfilled, Mary becomes a model of faith for us all. She is an example of what the disposition of the Christian and the church could be towards God. The effect of her response shows us something of what God accomplishes in us if we give ourselves to His will as she did. “Let it be unto me, according to Your will”.
Like Jesus, Mary embraced with all her heart whatever God willed for her life. She did not ask to understand, to know God’s reasons, or to see where this would all lead her before she said yes. Mary submitted without reserve to God’s action in her life. This is why Mary is often called the queen of contemplatives. She models for us the disposition of one who is fully given to God. She shows us how to more perfectly co-operate with the divine action in our lives.
What does it mean for you and I to do likewise? It means to simply submit to God’s word that is constantly calling us to conform to God’s will. As brother Roger of Taizé once noted, “The Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts and whispers constantly to each one of us, ‘Surrender yourself to God’s will, in all simplicity.'”
God’s word is more than speech, more than what’s written in the Bible. It is a living action that creates us in the image of God, our imago dei. The question is, do we receive that word? Are our hearts sufficiently humble to welcome and abide in that Word which would transform us? Jesus once told His disciples, “If you continue in my word you truly are my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). The person who gives their life to God’s will have great freedom. And with great freedom, comes great joy. “Let it be unto me, according to Your will.” The gospel is really as simple as that. To pray this offering and seek each day to participate with its fulfillment will lead anyone to a more perfect obedience and to spiritual joy.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. Jn. 15:9
For Group Discussion:
1. How would you describe Mary’s obedience to God?
2. Do you see parallels with Jesus’ relationship to his Father?
3. How do you experience that kind of surrender and freedom?
For Prayer: I offer as much of myself to you as I am able, and ask for the desire to participate with You, God, in the transformation of my will. May You be fulfilled in me.