During Advent, we are encouraged to contemplate the life of Mary, Virgin and Mother of Jesus. Many reflections will point us to the marvel that God chose a 14-year-old Jewish girl from a poor town to conceive through the Holy Spirit and bear His Son, our Savior, and King Jesus. On December 12th, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to commemorate when in 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant named Juan Diego. She was dressed in a gold-trimmed robe of stars, surrounded by the Sun, and standing on the Moon.
Have you ever wondered . . . How did this poor Jewish girl become Queen of Heaven and Earth!?
Embracing a God-Given Mission
We know God made her capable of such a privilege in creating her free from original sin and full of grace to be a vessel pure and holy. But, just like every human ever born, she was also given a free will and could have chosen to reject this request. After all, it was a big ask! You may think that someone so pure and sinless is incapable of rejecting God, but Adam and Eve were created in the same pure and sinless state as Mary and we all suffer their choice against God, which the Church calls Original Sin.
Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”) (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 417-418).
Did Mary ask herself at the Annunciation, “What will be required of me? How will my life change? Can I do this? What if I fail?”
Her prompt response indicates no, and I believe this is because she at some time before her Annunciation made a choice to believe that what God promised through Scripture would come to be. Her yes to be the Mother of God was simply confirmation of the choice she had already made to surrender her will to God’s and take up whatever mission He gave her.
It is because of her every yes to God in the circumstances of her life as they presented themselves, God exalted her. And wonders of wonders, God desires to exalt us too!
How Can Mary’s Constant Yes to God Become Ours?
The Virgin Mary, our Blessed Mother, shares her simple but highly effective way with the offering of a daily Rosary. Through each Mystery of the Rosary, Mary ponders in and with us the circumstances of her life. She witnesses to how God shows up and works through the people, places and situations we find ourselves. She intercedes for us in our decisions, circumstances and choices. Her unfailing trust in God becomes ours. More effective than any self-improvement plan is the praying of a daily Rosary.
I believe it was the Virgin Mary who gave me the grace to pray a daily Rosary over twenty years ago. I had recently returned to the Catholic faith and was struggling with how to live it out. Immediately upon taking up my new daily Rosary habit, I received results. I was set on spiritual fire with an intense desire to grow in faith and found myself hungry for Scripture, Catholic understanding, and a closer relationship with Jesus.
My Ongoing Journey With Mary
As the Virgin Mary and I have journeyed together through the daily Rosary over the years and now decades, quietly, gently, and surely I have found my life has become more ordered, my temperament more tranquil, and my hunger for God greater than ever. It does take consistency, what the Church calls perseverance, and the efforts continue to pay off. In the last year, I find I am less annoyed, hurt, or offended by others and I quickly forgive these days. I no longer feel the need to be noticed or to defend myself. I now prefer to let God do that. It is not just the Virgin Mary teaching me how to be, it is more her sharing what she has received from God with me.
An Advent Invitation
The Virgin Mary makes easier what the Church teaches is the path to holiness:
All Christ’s faithful then will grow daily more holy in the conditions their life imposes, its duties and its circumstances. These things will be the means of their advance in holiness . . . ] (Lumen Gentium, 41).
I invite you to consider saying yes to praying a daily Rosary. As Advent is the time of preparation to receive Jesus anew, what better way than with the woman who received Him first?!
Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, as a writer, Missionary of Hope, Prayer Intercessor, Speaker Team member, and Volunteer for Pilgrim Center of Hope.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.