Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Offer to Say Yes

Have you ever had an offer you just couldn’t refuse?

Maybe it was an opportunity that seemed to fall in your lap. Maybe it was something that just lined up perfectly. Maybe it was a dream come true.

Whatever it was, you couldn’t refuse.

Oh, you could have. You could have said no. But why?

Even though it would be a lot of work in the end, even though it would mean a lot of effort (and probably some pain), even though it would take you out of your comfort didn’t say no, did you?

When you feel the call, the one that gets a capital “C,” you have to make a decision: yes or no. Does saying no mean admitting that God doesn’t know best? Or does it mean recognizing that the offer you thought you couldn’t refuse wasn’t so great after all?

That offer is black and white. There might seem to be gray at the time, but when you look back, you’ll see the starkness between the “yes” and the “no.”

Do you remember how it felt when you said “yes”? Did you feel a shiver in your intestines, like you were in the front seat on the big hill of the roller coaster? Was there a moment where the time it took you to draw a breath could have been five milliseconds or five minutes? Were you scared, just a little?

Imagine how it was, on that day in Nazareth, the sun streaming through the windows as an angel made a simple -- and huge -- request of a young girl. She didn’t hesitate. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Now fast forward 33 years. See that girl, still recognizable? See her there, clutching a young man, watching the procession of the Galilean with a cross? She’s sobbing...but she’s still saying yes.

What kind of homecoming must it have been three days later? How many tears did she cry as she saw her yes in front of her again, resurrected, smiling gently at her?

As we approach the Easter Triduum, commemorating the Lord’s Passion, death, and Resurrection, there’s an offer waiting for us. In the washing of our feet, we have the opportunity to humble ourselves to those around us. In the outstretched hug from the cross, we have the chance to suffer with joy. In the glory of the Resurrection, we have the security of trusting in God’s judgment.

I’m going to try to say “yes” this week with the same continued devotion that Mary did. Rather than be intimidated by her perfection, I’m going to be inspired by her constancy. Whether I’m embracing my cross or celebrating new life, struggling in daily life or enjoying small comforts, sobbing from frustration or laughing with hilarity, I’m going to remember that my Mother walks beside me, encouraging me to say “yes.”