Magnificat: December 16, 2019

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. – Luke 1:38

My cohort online is mostly Catholic and female, so I have heard all about this verse, Mary’s fiat, in which she says a resounding “yes!” to God’s plan and her part in the incarnation. It was weird to me as a Protestant originally, but I soon developed a bond with Mary.

My bond with her began in December 2008 when I was pregnant with Daniel. I was living on the Montana Hi-Line at the time, and we were in the midst of a spell of temperatures around -20º F in the day time and -40º F with windchill at night. The cold caused my joints to ache, and I was driving to work one day, complaining to God about the cold and pain when God smacked me upside the head with a holy clue-by-four. The picture of Mary on a donkey, 9 months pregnant, came to mind, and I started getting a small understanding of the magnitude of what Mary was asked to do. My car would warm up eventually. The bitterness of the cold night in Israel would remain with her.

With every twist and turn of my life with Daniel, this image of Mary saying “yes” has come to me. When Daniel was born prematurely and I almost died, I thought of Mary. When he almost died at age 2 from RSV and I was in the pediatric intensive care unit taking care of him, the image of the pieta, Mary holding Jesus’ body when he was taken down from the cross, came to me. Mary said “yes” not fully knowing that she would watch her son be an outcast in some places, cause struggle within the power structure, and ultimately be tortured and killed in one of the most gruesome manners imaginable. I said “yes” not knowing that I would have a child who challenged me daily and who would give me some serious scares in terms of his health. Her faith and confidence in God’s plan are what helps me to say “yes” daily, even when I want to give up at times.

Lord, thank you for the example of Mary and her faith in your plan. Help me to continue saying “yes” to your plan, even when it scares me. Amen.
-Jen McCabe