Columns

She said yes

Originally Appeared in : 9901-1/3/19
“Daddy, our church is being invaded by the bishops,” Jesse leaned in to tell me from the back pew, just moments before Bishop Hartmayer was set to begin the celebration of both the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, as well as the diaconate installation candidacy and lectors.
 
“No Jesse, there’s only one bishop for our church,” I replied with a smile, “and everyone else is either a deacon or a priest. And they’re not invaders, they’re visitors and our guests.”
 
“Oh,” Jesse said in an epiphany. A few minutes later, the whole scenario played out again with Eli, who substituted “priests” for “bishops.” I gave an identical rebuttal, and then it was time to stand for the processional hymn.
 
During the Mass, bishop Hartmayer talked about the beauty surrounding the Blessed Virgin’s birth and life, and how she made a conscious choice to become the “handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38)
 
“She could have said no,” the Bishop said, “...but God knew she would say ‘Yes.”
 
Father Jacob continued the discussion nine days before Christmas, asking all of us to consider thinking what Joseph and Mary were doing the week leading up to the birth of not only their son but the Christ child.
 
The story of Christmas ultimately hearkens back to one simple fact: Mary said yes.
 
When I connected all of the dots (save Jesse’s red herring bishop invasion) a parallel image emerged that evoked a few tears in my eyes and quiet prayers of thanks to God.
 
Nearly two decades ago, another young lady roughly the same age as Mary was asked by God to make a similar choice to embrace life. No, she wasn’t being asked to carry a savior, but she was asked to begin her vocation into parenthood at a time when most her age were still two years away from graduating high school.
 
She could have said no, and was encouraged by some to consider saying no to life, but she said yes.
 
Over the ensuing 18 years, that single “yes” was multiplied exponentially to include a husband, six more children and a contentment only promised through heartfelt faith in God’s plans for her life.
 
It was all because she said, “Yes.”
 
I am one of the recipients of the blessings God placed on Magan’s life when she said “yes” and welcomed Noah into the world all those years ago.
 
And thanks to His continued blessings in the weeks leading up to Christmas, both through the readings and subsequent homilies of Bishop Hartmayer and Father Jacob, God allowed me to steer my head and heart away from the barrage of materialism, selfishness and ego constantly attacking the Christmas season, and instead keep it focused on the true reason for the season: Mary’s “yes.”
 
We may never have an angel visit us and instruct us to take on raising God in human form, but Mary’s willing example to let God’s will “be done...according to (God’s) word” is one we can, and should, strive to carry out in our own lives. If we do, we only stand receive blessings just as Magan has the past 18 years.
One thing’s for sure, though, if the blessings keep coming at our house like they have the past couple of years, it may be the bishop who thinks he’s witnessing a Halcombe invasion in the diocese.
 
Jason Halcombe has five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.
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