Along the way Contributors

Like Mary, our ‘fiat’ is essential to the completion of God’s work

Emily Lopez is the lead consultant for adult evangelization.

by Emily Lopez

Our daily life is filled with choices — what to wear, what to eat, how to use our time.

We have access to an incredible amount of data at our fingertips to inform these decisions. However, this increased ability to choose does not seem to actually improve the quality of our lives.

It may be quite the opposite. Studies have found that the stress of ongoing, active decision-making can lead to impulsivity or inaction. The activity of deciding can literally drive us to stop making any decisions.

Fortunately, we have a clear model for intentional decision-making in the witness of Mary.

This past week, our church celebrated the solemnity of the Annunciation. Usually celebrated nine months before Christmas (March 25), this year’s date fell during Holy Week and the Octave of Easter so it was moved to Monday, April 8.

The Annunciation celebrates the incarnation of Jesus, the moment that our divine God took on human flesh. But this was more than an announcement — it was also a decision.

When the  angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she was both troubled and confused by the unexpected encounter. This was the moment when the fall of man through the sin of pride was offered a redeeming invitation — to submit the gift of free will to God. Mary’s decision framed the course of salvation history for all of those who had come before her and those to come after. God and all of his creation waited for her words: “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Mary’s reply was more than submission; it was an intentional decision to offer God everything. Her “yes” to his plan for her, allowed his plan to redeem all of us. In humble obedience and faithful trust, she allowed God to work incredibly through her life.

In the busyness of life, it’s easy to forget that God desires to work incredibly through our lives. We are not just passing time on earth; we are uniquely created to know, love and serve God now.

We have an eternal mission that can only be known through relationship with Christ. Before her decision, Mary lived a life open to God, allowing her to hear his call. Her first decision every day was to serve him. She could not have known where that daily decision would ultimately lead.

Do we desire to serve God first every day? Do the decisions in our life prioritize our relationship with him? Are we just passing time or do we recognize the great magnitude of our intentional existence right now?

Only through our “fiat” can God’s work be completed in us — may the decisions we make every day be a faithful surrender to his will in our lives.

About the author

Emily Lopez

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