Two months ago to the day (25 March), we commemorated the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For May, the month of Mary, Fr Antonio Paciello RCJ revisits the gospel of the Annunciation and asks us to listen and enter into the scene as if we are one of the characters physically present during the story. This is so that we may more deeply experience and better understand the seriousness of this moment, so important in the story of salvation.
Let us now enter Mary’s house. Let us imagine the sound of the voices of Gabriel and Mary, the silence, the breathing of Mary, her anxiety, her heartbeat and finally her words: “Let what you have said be done to me”. This is the most important ‘yes’ in history, pronounced by a simple girl. And when the angel has left, can we imagine the vortex of emotions in the heart of Mary? We can say that what sustains Mary in this moment is her faith and her confidence in God, and, most of all, those words “I am the handmaid of the Lord”.
Without that humility, such faith, this confidence, maybe she would never have said YES to the Lord. And it was total, full. She did not say: “Well, this time I will do God’s will; I will make myself available, then I will see…”. No, her “yes” was for her entire life, without conditions.
For each of us too, there is a story made up of ‘yeses’ and ‘nos’. Sometimes, we are experts in the half-hearted ‘yes’. We are also crafty and so as not to say a true ‘no’ to God, we say: “Sorry, I can’t”; “not today, I think tomorrow”. “Tomorrow I’ll be better; tomorrow I will pray, I will do good tomorrow”. We look for compromises, because we are afraid of God’s will. The famous “yes, but … “; “yes, Lord, but …”. Each of us has a collection of them within. Instead, every complete ‘yes’ to God gives rise to a new story. God awaits our daily ‘yes’. And usually God doesn’t ask for an easy “yes” – it can be very heavy, heavy and painful like a cross: doing his will, forgiving our sisters, the obedience to our superiors, the fraternal love, the fraternal life. Our YES is requested in many situations like these. So, Mary teaches us that the way of a full YES is with humility and love because where there is humility, there is no pride, and pride is one of the principal obstacles for the religious, fraternal, spiritual and Christian life. We can say that pride is the cancer of the fraternal and spiritual life.
Was Mother Nazarena humble? Yes, we can find many evidences in her life about her humility. There is a booklet on her spirituality called Fiat Voluntas Tua (in Italian) on this topic of the divine will.
Let us ask the Virgin Mary to intercede for us that we may have the virtue of humility which is the foundation of our consecrated and lay lives.
Fr Antonio Paciello RCJ
The Regina Cæli (Queen of Heaven) is sung or recited during the Easter season.