I’m someone who has always loved having a plan–always knowing the next step. I suppose it is not the plan I enjoy, so much as the comfort of having control over my situations. Even as a little girl, I worried about the unknown: “But Mommy, what if it goes wrong? Then what?” My mom never wavered in her answer: “Now is not the time to worry” or “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

And bridges there were. The bridges have been many, and there will continue to be many. Life is filled with events that that require leaps of faith, trusting in the unknown. A long time ago, a young peasant girl, in the town of Nazareth, took a leap of faith. That girl was Mary.

Surrendering to God

Mary was engaged to Joseph, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive a child, and that child would be the Son of God. We know the story so well that sometimes I think we forget the scandal of it. Though Mary was bearing the Son of God, to outsiders, she was merely a pregnant woman out of wedlock. The punishment, under Mosaic law, for having a child out of wedlock was death.

Mary knew all of this, and yet, she was not worried about what others would think of her, what they would say, or how they would act. She did not ask for a sign or a plan. She simply surrendered herself to God, she put her whole life into His hands, and trusted in Him.

More Like Mary

Throughout Advent, I often find myself thinking of Mary — of what she might have been thinking and feeling. I wonder how I would have responded if an angel appeared to me — Would I be afraid, scared, confused? Would I wonder if God had made a mistake, “Surely, not I, Lord?”

Or would I respond with grace and humility, as Mary did: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

As the season of Christmas continues to draw near, I can only hope to be more like Mary — more grace filled, more holy, more obedient, more loving, more pure, more patient. But most importantly, I aspire to trust in God as Mary did. The power of faith in God is not that you are without questions, but that those questions do not prevent you from surrendering yourself to Him.

When you do, God allows incredible things to happen. Now that I am older, I often turn to Mary, my heavenly mother, with all my “what ifs.” If I am quiet enough, in my heart I can hear her saying, “now is not the time to worry, be at peace, trust in God.” Mary’s “yes” changed the world forever — what will your “yes” do?

About the Author

Caitlin Sica

I am a New Hampshire girl who’s [imperfectly] striving for sainthood one day at a time, on this messy, grace-filled journey called life. Mondays guarantee a messy bun, I run on coffee, and am always losing my keys. I’m continuing to learn to see God in the most unusual places and in the most unexpected ways. I teach theology at a Catholic high school and received my MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @CaitlinSica !

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