After my conversion I really worked hard to get to know God: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I really had never entered into a relationship with God Himself so for me, Mary and Joseph were kind of in the background. I had always known about Mary because of the Christmas story and because of my mom and aunts. They are Hispanic Catholics which meant there were statues and giant pictures of the Blessed Mother in every house that I ever went to as a child. You can say that she has followed me my entire life. Plus I have never met an Elizabeth that I didn’t like, so you can say that Elizabeth has always been in my life as well.
A few weeks ago I began to sit in front of the picture of Our Lady at my parish during Mass. Moving spots for Mass is a pretty big deal if you are a regular at my parish. I have no idea what prompted the feeling but I wanted to be close to Mary during Mass. I have felt abandoned by God for the last few months and Mary’s arms seemed like the right place to go with that feeling. I knelt and prayed in front of that picture one day and I felt as if she was truly listening to me and comforting me in my pain. That is when I began to look to her for the answers on how exactly to say yes to God when it seems like what He is asking of me is impossible. For that reason Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert (a Patheos Book Club book) seemed like the perfect book for me.
I was crying by the introduction where Denise writes:
“Mary whipsers to us, come and learn from me. Watch me. Feel what I feel. Desire what I desire. Risk everything as I risk everything. Share Jesus Christ as if it’s what you were born to do—because it is what you were born to do.”
She goes on to write about the gifts of grace that were at the visitation which are: Spontaneity, Courage, Joy, Readiness, Humility, Hospitality, Adventure, Wonder and Awe, and Thanksgiving. But first comes the openness to the Holy Spirit. We have to open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit in the same way that Mary did to say yes to Him. The Holy Spirit then overshadowed her and placed the Word Incarnate in her womb. When the angel first told her what was being asked of her she asked “how can that be?” and then she humbled herself and said “I am the handmaid of the Lord”. I am still stuck at the “how can it be?” part of being open to the Holy Spirit and then I wonder why God isn’t moving in my life.
In reading this short book with it’s beautiful prayers and novena in the appendix, I have slowly started moving towards giving a solid “Yes” to God instead of a shaky one. I hope that everyone who reads this finds the same courage to begin to follow in the footsteps of that brave 14-year-old girl who said “ Let it be done to me according to Your word”. Let us begin to do what we were born to do, which is to share Christ with the world.