God invites us to be, as Mary is, a pure “Yes” to God, a “Yes” which is awakened and sustained by his own all-enveloping Love. This “Yes,” before being an act of self-giving, is a simple willingness to receive, to welcome the outpouring love of God and the tenderness of his gaze. Indeed, this consent to receive is, in the last analysis, the deepest way to give oneself. It is our return into the interior sanctuary where we are alone before God, where we are intimately united to him in that space where he ceaselessly communicates himself to us, and, in himself, gives us the truth of our own personal being as his beloved child.
Through the outpouring of his grace, through the docility by which we allow his Love to touch us, to enfold us, and to possess us, our “Yes” can grow ever more total—so total that there is no room in us for the slightest turning away from God or from intimate communion with him. This is not a matter of no longer experiencing human frailty, but of letting our frailty be cradled always in the arms of his Love, which is our protection and our strength. Perhaps in this mortal life such a perfect “Yes” can only be approximated, since there always exists the possibility of our turning away, of our losing sight of God’s love and his call. But just like a little child who can barely walk, as long as she does not refuse to allow herself to be upheld by her parents, no fall will ever separate her from their enveloping arms. They will protect and hold her, in her frailty, in the shelter of their love. How much more can God can sustain us throughout this life, like a parent their child, carrying us toward the fullness that awaits us at the end of time. In heaven, our freedom will reach its full flowering in the perfect security of God’s Love, which upholds and consummates our own loving “Yes”…a “Yes” to his Love which can nevermore be revoked or lessened in any way.
The “Yes” that awaits us then, when we at last see God face to face, will be a “Yes” that corresponds perfectly with the “Yes” which God himself pronounces in the inmost depths of our being—his ineffable Love by which he cries out: “You are my beloved child, in whom I delight!” Our response will simply be an eternal cry of reciprocal jubilation and total surrender: “And you, my God, are my loving Father, my Beloved, my Life, my Joy! I surrender myself to you without reserve, because I trust in you, because I know your Love, and because I am drawn by your Beauty… In you alone can I rest…while in turn, Beloved, I give you permission to make your home, your place of repose, in my heart.”
God has intended, in choosing Mary to become his Mother, that we may all share in the mystery first lived by her. He has intended that her “Yes” become the space in which the “Yes” of every human heart finds security and strength—even in the fragility and uncertainty of this life. But this is simply because her “Yes” is inseparably united to the perfect “Yes” of the eternal Son. As Pope Benedict XVI has said:
The “yes” of the Son: “I have come to do your will,” and the “yes” of Mary: “Let it be to me according to your word”—this double “yes” becomes a single “yes,” and thus the Word becomes flesh in Mary. In this double “yes” the obedience of the Son is embodied, and by her own “yes” Mary gives him that body. “Woman, what have I to do with you?” Ultimately, what each has to do with the other is found in this double “yes” which resulted in the Incarnation. The Lord’s answer [to his Mother at Cana] points to this point of profound unity. It is precisely to this that he points his Mother. Here, in their common “yes” to the will of the Father, an answer is found. We too need to learn always anew how to progress towards this point; there we will find the answer to our questions. (9-11-06, Altötting, Bavaria)
This “point” of profound unity—in which our “Yes” is melded together as one with the single “Yes” of Mary and Jesus to the Father—this is the point in which we find the security that we thirst for so much. We can be moved to fear and anxiety when we turn our gaze to our own inconstancy, to the struggles we have in keeping our heart always open for God’s Love, to the disordered movements within us. But the essential truth is that our whole existence is already cradled within the perfect “Yes” of God, who has created us out of love and for love. However much we falter and feel our inadequacy, our inadequacy is nonetheless sustained by the perfect Love of God and his wholehearted “Yes” to us. He is the God of everlasting fidelity, the God who cannot go back on his promises, the God who has entrusted himself entirely to us. And this very divine entrustment awakens, and can sustain until the end, our own loving entrustment in return. As long as we desire to say this “Yes,” as long as we never cease trying to entrust ourselves to God, he can and will take care of the rest.
Mary shows us that this is possible. It is possible for God, and it is possible for the real human heart within the limits and struggles of this world. She shows the true beauty of the human heart, the real possibility offered to every one of us. In her consent to God, in her fidelity to him, in her “Yes” that was always sheltered in his Love, she reveals the true and deepest vocation of every person. In this “Yes” she allowed God to truly be her Father, to draw near and to unite her to himself in intimate love, and to become present in this world in a unique way in and through her.
Further, this “Yes” transformed and gave meaning to each moment of her life, allowing her to recognize and receive his Love unceasingly in all things. In this “Yes,” God held and sustained her even through the anguish of the Cross; he held her in the arms of the Love that was stronger than suffering and death. In this “Yes” she joyfully welcomed the Risen Jesus as he came to her, radiant with the glory of eternal Love which had now poured itself into our world in the most radical and total way. In this “Yes” she welcomed the Holy Spirit who descended on the Church at Pentecost, bringing forth spiritually the fullness of the mystical Body of Christ, just as Mary had brought forth his earthly body so many years ago at Christmas. Finally, because of this “Yes,” which echoed ceaselessly from the very loving “Yes” of God, Mary was unable to be separated from the fullness of Life even by the ending of her mortal existence. The one who belongs totally to Life cannot experience enduring death. Therefore, Mary allowed God, who had always held her in his Love from the first moment of her conception, to hold her still, taking her, body and soul—in the whole of her being—into the bosom of his own Trinitarian embrace.
To entrust oneself into the loving hands and heart of Mary is simply to place our frail and fragile “Yes” within the sheltering “Yes” of our heavenly Mother. It is to join our “Yes,” in and through her, with the perfect “Yes” of Jesus Christ to his heavenly Father. It is, above all, to recognize and to consent to the cradling arms of God’s Love, which enfold and shelter us at every moment. It is, as it were, simply giving God our consent to his Love:
“Yes, my God, I give you permission to hold me as you desire—to hold me, shelter me, and sustain me as you did Mary! She is already with you in the fullness of heavenly glory; she is already in that place where her whole being is forevermore a pure ‘Yes’ to you, cradled in your own perfect loving ‘Yes.’ I want to be there too, and, in faith, I am already given a foretaste of this intimacy. So hold me, my God, hold me in your Love which is stronger than all, and carry me at last into that place where I so deeply desire to be…and where you desire me to be even more.”
– Do I feel that, nearing the end of these weeks, I am ready to offer my consent to God, and to Mary, in a deeper and more total way that I have before?
– What most do I desire this “Yes” to bring about in my life? In other words, what areas of my life need most especially to be placed within the cradling arms of God’s Love, there to receive his transforming touch and the security of his embrace?