“From all eternity God wanted to enlist the free cooperation of a creature to bring about the Incarnation of His Son.”
— Echoing the Mystery, Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis
Mary, the Mother of God, shows us the meaning and essence of what free cooperation with God “looks like” and “sounds like.” A slow reading of the Annunciation reveals how God always proposes and does not impose His plan on us. The angel Gabriel comes as a messenger and engages in a conversation with Mary. Before any action takes place, she gives her full consent, “Be it done to me according to your will.” Her “yes” resonated across the universe as the Holy Spirit overshadowed her virginal womb, and the Word became flesh (John 1:14).
From this moment, we witness what free cooperation looks like in Mary’s life. First, she goes in haste to assist her cousin, Elizabeth. Then, under Joseph’s chaste and protective care, she journeys to Bethlehem and further to Egypt. Their mission is to protect the Savior, the Messiah, so that He may save us from sin and death.
Notice that the free cooperation taking place is a relationship and requires consent. Mary couldn’t decide on her own to be the Mother of God. God invited her to participate in His saving plan to redeem us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. We, too, are invited to respond freely to God’s loving will. May we say “yes” each day.
Spot the Virtue
An understanding of commitment lies below the surface of loyalty. That is the ability to stay true before God, oneself, and others. Maintaining this proper order is essential to preserve a healthy and secure attachment that allows for authentic freedom and gift of self. By staying firm in our beliefs in love and truth, we provide security and safety for others in difficult times. Loyalty is the virtue needed in our current culture of fragmentation and disconnection. Let us strive to be a “sturdy shelter” (Sirach 6:14) for our friends and loved ones.
Name: Maggie, I heard you standing up for Amy when some of the girls were teasing her about her new glasses.
Explain: You showed Amy that you are a loyal friend.
Express: Thank you for showing others what it means to be a loyal friend.
Spot the virtue in one person this week.
Pray Sirach 6:14-17
Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them.
Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their
I would also like to share with you this article from Fox News that I saw the other day. A new program at the Franciscan University of Stuebenville in Ohio is offering scholarships to students who give up their smart phones during their time in college so that they can be better connected with God and their neighbor. Read more about the story here.