Pope Benedict prays at the Grotto of the Apparitions at the Marian sanctuaries of Lourdes in 2008.
Catholic News Service
Here is a column from the Catholic Times, newspaper of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio. It was written by David Garick, editor.
For the Incarnation to take place, Mary had to assent to her role in that process: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Having been born without the handicap of original sin, Mary was clearly more inclined to live a holy life. But she still had free will. She still had it in her power to say "I'm going to have a child how? No way!" That's how the world would tell us to react. But that's not what happened. Mary simply said "Yes" to the Lord.
Mary continues to confront us to this day as an example of obedience. Her message runs totally counter to what our society tells us. The world says you are supreme. You decide what you will do and what will happen with your body. Can we overcome the message of the world and obey the will of God? It's easy to say, "Well, Mary was born without sin. She could do that. I'm not that strong." Mary has shown us otherwise.
If the example of Mary's own life is not enough, take a look at some of the other lives Mary has touched. Consider the incredible story of St. Juan Diego. A simple Mexican peasant, he encountered Our Lady of Guadalupe and she told him to have the bishop in Mexico City build a chapel for her. Do you think he really wanted to go tell a bishop what to do? But he did. Not once, but several times, until the bishop saw the miracle of Our Lady and a tradition was born that has enriched the lives of millions of the faithful by bringing them closer to Jesus through Our Lady. It only happened because of his simple obedience.
In the same way, think of St. Bernadette. Again, a very simple person, a little girl in France, encounters Our Lady. Her only desire was to be close to the beautiful lady she saw in the grotto. But Mary had more in mind. She had a role for Bernadette to play in spreading her message. Despite Bernadette's poor health, despite her hatred for being in the spotlight, she simply obeyed. And millions of people have found spiritual and physical healing by having their faith strengthened as a result of her action.
We all are called to simple obedience. Let's take a look at some of those before us who simply said "Yes" to God and find the strength to do the same in our own lives. In that, we find hope and peace.