By Sister Diane Heiss, SDSH
Artwork by Isabel Piczek
How much does a “yes” cost? Well, let’s see.
You answer the phone to hear your neighbor saying, “I’m sorry to bother you at the last minute, but I just saw I have a flat tire and my child’s dentist appointment is in 20 minutes. Would you be able to drop us off?”
As you pause to think about it, you see your plans for having a cup of coffee and checking your email float away, while a small voice within whispers, “It is Lent, after all” and so you say “yes.” Cost: A half hour of your free time.
How about this next scenario? Your friend asks if you would be able to use your truck to help him move his daughter to college in two weeks, acknowledging that it would take the entire day. You hesitate, but then, remembering how many times he has helped you, you say “yes.” Cost: An entire Saturday.
This third scenario involves a much higher price. Suppose someone you deeply love asks you for a major commitment, one which could alter the shape of your future, and you say “yes.” Cost: An entire lifetime.
There was a young couple many years ago who were engaged to be married when suddenly all their plans were turned upside down.
He saw the necessity of breaking off the engagement for a very serious reason, although he deeply loved his bride-to-be. She saw that what she was being asked would totally change her future, and perhaps even cost her life.
Joseph was a carpenter from the town of Nazareth, and Mary a teenage girl betrothed to Joseph, when suddenly she received a visit from the Angel Gabriel. God sent this messenger to ask if Mary was willing to be the mother of his son, Jesus. Thankfully for each of us, she said “yes.”
In Israel 2,000 years ago, to be pregnant out of wedlock was considered a serious sin, and the woman could be stoned to death. We read in the Gospel of Matthew that “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” (Mt. 1:19)
What a heartbreaking end to their joyful plans!
What do we do when things don’t go as we hoped, when our plans go awry, when our dreams can’t be fulfilled? It depends on how serious it is. If simple, we might shrug it off, get frustrated or disappointed.
If major, such as the loss of a job or even worse, the loss of a loved one, our response will be more serious. Some of us may feel so let down and abandoned by God that we turn away completely.
Others might try to keep going, perhaps with a few prayers but mainly using our own strength and determination. And still others may allow this to strengthen our relationship with God, as we surrender the situation to God and trust in God’s merciful love to see us through and provide us with all we need. This is
what Mary and Joseph did.
Joseph, after being reassured by an angel in a dream that Mary had not been unfaithful to him and that “ it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” (Mt. 1:20) brought Mary into his home, and they lived a chaste life together, loving and supporting each other and raising their son Jesus, He who is truly human and truly divine.
This week we celebrate their feast days. March 19 is the feast of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, and Saturday, March 25, is the feast of the Annunciation. What price are we willing to pay, to say “Yes” to God’s good plan for our lives? Is it a little “Yes” here and there, or a lifetime “Yes?” Let’s daily ask their intercession to say and live a lifetime “Yes.”