The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23
Hanging on a retreat center wall in Lake Charles, La. is a portrait of the annunciation. A radiant angel stands before Mary. Her posture is one of humble submission. It is the moment of surrender. She says "yes" to God's plan for her and humanity.
I believe surrender is the fundamental act of the Christian life. More than praying a prayer, it is a posture from which we can live our life. Surrender is a daily, sometimes hourly abandonment of our person and will to God who always wants the best for us. Living a surrendered life is far from being passive or resigned. It was because of Mother Teresa's daily surrender that she ministered to the poorest of the poor. Maximillian Kolbe's surrender impelled him to give his life in the place of a married man in a concentration camp's starvation bunker. It is through surrender that people who are bound come into recovery. People who live surrendered lives are among the most proactive, passionate people alive.
There were two memorable moments of surrender in my life. One was lying prostrate in the sanctuary at Immaculate Conception Church as the litany of the saints was being sung. That occasion was my ordination to the priesthood in 1991. The other was proclaiming my vows to the passion, poverty, chastity, and obedience to God on this day 27 years ago. Peak moments of surrender help shape our lives and define the way we live each day.
God is so worthy of all that we are. As we heard in the readings, God chooses the lowly. He predestines us for glory in love. God works through our sometimes splintered family tree to bring about good. God is gracious, kind, and merciful. God never forces our surrender but captivates us and allures us to freely give ourselves fully in the context of a love relationship.
Today we celebrate the birth of the one who's "yes" would change the destiny of humanity. Our daily "yes" can affect people too.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 16 books and creator of television and radio programs airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/