Dear Blessed Mother, pray with me, enlighten me. You are the model for every vocation. You sought God’s will in your life. You were able to perceive it clearly. Although it was the greatest, most demanding vocation, you accepted it with simplicity ...
by Father Kermit Syren, LC | Source:
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and 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.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren, for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Introductory Prayer: Dear Blessed Mother, pray with me, enlighten me. You are the model for every vocation. You sought God’s will in your life. You were able to perceive it clearly. Although it was the greatest, most demanding vocation, you accepted it with simplicity and generosity. Help me to seek God’s will with sincerity, to perceive it with clarity, and to accept it with generosity and love. I want my life to be in perfect harmony with God and pleasing to Him. I want to be a part, even if only a small part, of this world’s solution and not part of its problem. Finally, dear Mother, let me live the adventure of my vocation, big or small, with you. Then I know that I will be living it in the best, most pleasing way for God. With you I will live my vocation with serenity, confidence and enthusiasm.
Petition: Heavenly Father, when you asked Mary to be the mother of your Son, you were also asking her to be the mother of all mankind and the mother of every vocation. Grant me the privilege and joy of Mary’s maternal presence and guidance enabling me to see, accept and fulfill my vocation in life.
1. The example of Mary: We have the most beautiful and luminous example for a vocation in Mary, when she gave her yes to the Lord. It was a total and complete yes, a yes without limits or time constraints, a perpetual yes. Why don’t I stop making myself suffer needlessly from so many doubts and just hand my life over to God like a blank check so that He can write whatever He wants on it? Then I will sign it: Your will be done! Then I will have taken a monumental step in my life. It will be a step that will make me experience great peace knowing that I will be able to accomplish my end and purpose in life. With this step I will experience true freedom and joy knowing that I have left the amount blank so God can ask any price He wishes of me.
2. The Price Tag: Mary is the Queen of Peace and she lived her vocation with a sublime tranquility in the depths of her soul. But the tranquility and peace that following her vocation brought also demanded a price: to watch her Son be rejected, suffer and die in order to pay for the sins of my pride and sensuality. My vocation will have tranquility, peace and a price too, like Mary, although the price will be different than hers. Unlike Mary, my price will be a constant fight against my egotism and sensuality. That is why my surrender to God, will not take away tribulations from my life. But I can live with peace, I can suffer with joy, and I will experience an immense happiness in my life knowing that I am accomplishing the most holy will of God.
My dear Mother, I feel the desire to live close to you in that peace and tranquility that you shared with Christ, immersed in His mission, accomplishing the will of the Father. I experience fear at times. Help me to be generous and to trust totally in God and his loving plan for my life. Your trusting, magnanimous heart allowed God to raise mankind from finite creatures to become his children, sharing in the divine nature itself. I know that God’s plan for me could be the means to save countless souls from a future of eternal darkness and bring them to share in light without end. Help me to open my heart to truly great things. Help me to be willing to pay the price necessary: a lifelong effort to overcome my self-centeredness.
3. How God Works: Do I really know God? He is very unique in His way of dealing with souls. He gives Himself totally to us. He surrenders Himself totally to us and then when He finds a soul that wants to love Him in return, He asks for a complete surrender of the souls’ whole being. After that, the surrender of all other affections, of all other loves that could tie it to created things and make its love less pure and its surrender to Him less total. God knows what we are made of. Our Creator knows our human nature very well. He knows our frailty, our limitations. That is why He calls us little by little, softly, always completely respecting our freedom. He pleads and supplicates, He begs and invites… Then, when we have said yes, He begins His work. It is a work of days, months and years. It is a work that doesn’t finish until we die. The work of our transformation in Christ realized by the Holy Spirit has to be done with our free cooperation. Since this work deals with making us similar to God I must look to Christ remembering: “who sees me sees the Father”. It will be absolutely necessary for me to retrace the same paths as Christ: obedience, abnegation, self-sacrificing love…
4. What is God asking of me? Where do I go from here? Don’t I already know the answer to these questions, deep in my heart? Is there a kind of subconscious fear in me of opening that last door in my heart… the door that will lead to my freedom? Does my fear indicate an imperfect love for God? A love that is still mixed with self interest…? A calculating and not so generous love that still worries about the price tag…? I know the answer: I will open wide that last door of my heart. I will hand over the most intimate part of my soul to Christ, allowing Him to write whatever he wants on it, letting Him put His seal on it forever. My signature, ratifying my free and unrestricted offering to Him, will be the concrete step I take to follow Him so that he can begin to lead me. I have to go out searching, visiting places and investigating the paths of those souls who like Mary have already given their lives to Him. Then I will see how ridiculous I have been to fear the loving plan of God for my life. Goodbye to the eternal discerner who calms his conscience by saying he is searching, while in reality he is waiting until it is too late. No more thinking and calculating, weighting the odds. It’s simple. I’ll just do it!
Conversation: Lord Jesus, I see that I often seek my happiness in a selfish manner. Help me to understand that, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:34). I fear this reality, Lord, but I trust in your word that, “nothing is impossible with God”. Grant me your grace then, to do what seems impossible for me now: to put aside all my self-interest and fear, allowing myself to hear and accept my own annunciation. Help me to offer in union with you, dear Mother, the sacrifice of self-donation, which is pleasing to the Father. Oh Holy Spirit, grant me the consolation of finding my vocation in the vocation that Mary received with love in the Annunciation. Fortify my heart and make it magnanimous that I may live in total freedom, united to my Mother, the Queen of Peace and the Mother of my vocation.
1. What are the main characteristics of my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary? In what ways can I say that I imitate her in my daily life?
2. What is keeping me from listening to my Lord as Mary did? Keeping in mind that the Lord normally chooses ordinary means to communicate to me (through Sacred Scripture, through my parents and teachers and my boss, through my spiritual director…) what other attractions and distractions, desires and fears drown out his inspirations?
3. What particular inspirations have I been rejecting? What do I need to do in order to show my love for Christ and be more docile to his inspirations?