Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The grace to say yes

Today, as it's the feast of the Annunciation, I have been recalling, with immense gratitude, my own call - or rather, calls: to God, primarily, and within that, to religious life in the Society. I recall the gentle infusion, the gradual seeping in of God: if, as Leonard Cohen sang, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in... then that has to be how and where God managed to get in. I recall, too, the dawning fascination with Jesus; the compelling impulse to begin to pray and to be part of parish life; the changes - at once reluctant and whole-hearted - as I allowed myself to be challenged by conversations, events and what I read in scripture.

And then came the most memorable moment of call; startlingly compelling and irresistible. A moment in which I was flooded with an awareness of the immensity of God's love for me, and knew that I was being called to love, for love. Like Mary I felt unprepared, caught unawares, but in another way I had been prepared, made ready, in those months of God's patient infusion. Even so there was incredulity - my own Who, me? version of But how can it be...? - not just that moment, but for a long time after, even as I also experienced certainty. Maybe Mary felt this too, long after the angel left her. Who, me?... an uneducated small town girl, chosen from eternity to be overshadowed with the power of God and bearer of his Son...? But how can it be...?

But in that patient preparation lay copious grace - the grace to say yes, in my own way saying Here I am... let it be... Grace is never stingy, and thus I have been able to continue to say yes. I pray that this may continue, so that I may increasingly respond like Mary, whose life - like that of her Son - was one constant, unceasing, YES, filled with faith and generosity. Over the years the details and circumstances of God's calls to Mary would have differed, but her response was unchanging; whether to something uncertain, hazardous or heart-breaking, or to what was life-enhancing and wondrous: Here I am... let it be...

And as I pray for myself I pray too for all those who are facing God's calls; who may feel unprepared, incredulous, afraid; who hover on the brink of their response. May God's tender preparation fill them with the grace to say YES; to utter and live their own Here I am... let it be... 

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