As we celebrate this Holy Day of Obligation, the feast of the immaculate conception, we contemplate all that it means. Mary was a young, unmarried, betrothed woman in a culture that held the highest of expectations of their women. And yet, when the angel came to her she did not hesitate in her answer to the Lord. (Luke 1:38) Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” She surrendered her all to the Lord.
There are no degrees or levels of surrender. We cannot ‘almost’ surrender in war. We do not ‘sorta’ give up our will to the Lord. Mary did not say, make me ‘kinda’ pregnant or I will go along with the whole baby thing but after that I’m out. None of that is/was possible. We either surrender or we do not.
In a culture that values doing whatever YOU want this part of the gospel teaching is probably the most overlooked-and under desired of all the teachings. We may be able to get behind someone else taking the punishment for us. We may be able to embrace the unconditional love given to us by God. But for true holiness, dare I say peace in our life and time, we must also surrender our all to the Lord. That is the sticky wicket in which we seem to get stuck.
Relationships are always a two-way street and it is that way with our Lord too. We cannot claim a good relationship if we are willing to take all the Lord offers and give nothing back. Granted, our ALL does seem like a lot, but we cannot out give our Lord. Mary gave her all to God, she held nothing in reserve. She surrendered in obedience, showed us devotion to her Son, and in doing so gained the fullness of God and Heaven. What she received was more than tenfold what she gave. That is the richness of surrendering all. That is the reward of obedience.
Elizabeth exclaimed: (Luke 1:45) 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” She surrendered, believed, and was indeed blessed. In that example, we see obedience as the key of holiness. Let us all surrender today so we might begin to unlock the joy and mysteries of faith.
Here I am, Lord, use me,
Lisa Lee Brandel, Kolbe Evangelization Commission Chair.