Let it be done according to your word.” – Lk. 1:38
It sounds so peaceful. Let it be. And yet, the times in my ministry and my marriage when I find myself praying these words, I usually feel anything but peaceful. Mary’s prayer of surrender to the will of God comforts me when I recognize that I am being called to do something difficult or uncomfortable.
Sometimes we sugarcoat the reality of vocation. We want all the deep joy and the passion with none of the sacrifice. In reality, the vocation we are called to is the role that’s most apt to refine us, to shape us into to the being God envisions us to be. This means our joy and our fulfillment are both tied to sacrifice.
When Mary uttered these words, “Let it be done to me,” I highly doubt she felt excited and on fire about the ridicule and gossip she would certainly face as an unmarried pregnant woman. She was likely anxious about the severe punishment that might await. I think that Mary’s words sound peaceful because, whether they come from a place of peace or not, it is the act of surrender to the will of God that brings peace. It is in his hands, and not through our own power, that we become capable of accomplishing what it is that he has set out for us to do. This is true freedom.
During our wedding Mass, the priest offered a prayer that I have said often throughout the years: “For everything that has been, thank you. For everything that will be, yes.” This prayer, along with Mary’s “let it be,” has become a mantra for me during the more challenging or unpleasant moments in my roles as teacher, wife, and mother. Today I pray that if you find yourself passing through similar trials, you also will find peace and empowerment through Mary’s posture of humble acceptance.
How have my past sacrifices brought joy into my life?
In what area of my life am I being called to surrender to God?
What obstacles or roadblocks do I face in imitating Mary’s radical trust in God?
This post was originally written for the Christus Ministries Advent Blog and published on December 20, 2018.