The Blessed Virgin Mary’s entire life was and is now a continuing, whole-hearted “Yes” to God’s will. Made in God’s image and likeness, and conceived without original sin, all her actions, each freely chosen by her, were and are aligned totally with the will of God. Each time she wills to do something, she again says to God, “Yes. Let it be.”
Holy Scripture recounts many times Mary had a chance to agree with God’s will. The most-celebrated was her humble human “Yes” to a divine request, announced to her by the Angel Gabriel that she consent to be the Mother of Our Savior.
Mary’s “Yes” at the Annunciation was remarkable for many things; perhaps the most amazing was that she was so young. We do not know her exact age at the time, but tradition tells us she was most probably a young teenager.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke tell us that Mary was “betrothed” to Joseph when God sent the Angel Gabriel to her. At that time, a betrothal meant that the actual marriage would take place in the fairly near future. The usual time for marriage under Jewish law was at least thirteen years old for boys and twelve for girls. With a betrothal as significant a religious event as it was, and with our knowledge of Jewish practices at the time, Mary was probably thirteen or fourteen years old when the angel Gabriel appeared before her.
The “Yes” of this young girl was instrumental to the Incarnation – beginning with the Baby Jesus in her womb – the coming to earth of her Son who would redeem us all.
A Crucifixion Yes From Mary
The second significant “Yes” is the author’s guess at another Virgin Mary “Yes.” This is a guess because this “Yes” is not recorded in Holy Scripture. At the foot of the Cross, Jesus told his mother that John was now her son. Jesus entrusted the beloved disciple under the care of Mary. Holy Scripture does not include Mary’s reply; but it is a fairly safe conclusion that again she said, “Yes. Let it be.”
Church tradition and teaching have explained this “Yes” as resulting in each of us becoming her adopted child. This Crucifixion Yes said: “I will take John and all your brothers and sisters for all time as my children now, and I will love and cherish them as I did you from the time you were my baby, as I love you now in our suffering here, as I will always love you when we are happy together forever.”
Yes For Everybody?
In the Gospel of John, Jesus, from the cross, tells “the disciple” to behold his, Mother— Mary. [John 19:26]. Church teaching and tradition declared that, at this moment, Mary agrees to and thus becomes Mother of all disciples of Jesus, for the rest of human history. In a papal encyclical, John Paul II says the following:
“This is true not only of John, who at that hour stood at the foot of the Cross together with the Mother (of Jesus), but it is also true of every disciple of Christ, of every Christian.” (Redemptoris Mater, 1987).
The Catechism refers to Mary as “mother of men,”  and says she intercedes now for all of us:
“This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. . . . by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” [ CCC 969, citing Vatican II, Lumen Gentium].
By her “Yes” at the cross, Mary agrees to mother all of us:
“We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ” [CCC 975, quoting Paul VI, Credo of the People of God, § 15. 1968].
An Individual’s Small “Yes” Today
Today, in our daily lives, none of us can say “Yes” for everybody, all humankind, as Mary did at the Annunciation and at the foot of the cross. Still, we can say our own little “Yes.” Our affirmation to God’s will plays an important role in the journey to heaven—both for ourselves and for others.
You might think, well, I cannot help everyone by choosing to do a good action, so why help anyone? Remember the story of the little boy, the old man, and the dying starfishes. An unusual tide had washed numerous starfishes up on a beach, and they would all eventually die in the sun. An old man walking along noticed a young boy picking up a starfish and throwing it back into the water. “You can’t make a difference,” he told the boy, “you can’t save them all.” The boy reached down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the waves and turned to the old man and said, “It made a difference to that one.” (This is a paraphrase of The Starfish Story by Loren Eisley).
The other folks God blesses us with and gifts us within our lives, every day, are our starfishes.
God has made us free to be like Mary-He has made us free to always choose what He would. We – almost all of us- are not saints here and now; here and now we do NOT always choose to follow God’s will. This is, however, what we strive for and seek for ourselves and for all the “starfish” around us. This is the “difference” we will make with our “Yes,” if and when we are in heaven together with God someday, a day out of time and part of eternity. We will get to the point where we turned 100% to God, to align our wills 100% with His, and be with Him, and His Mom.
Mary’s “Yes” beautifully hints at Jesus’s “Yes” in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was coming. He knew already the pain, the torture, the cruelty, the suffering, the agony, the death. But, despite all this and what His human nature saw as a way out, He still said “Yes. Let it be. Thy will, Father, not Mine, be done.”
Jesus’s “Yes” is not some chance, random echo of Mary’s Annunciation Yes. Holy Scripture uses the same Greek word for what has come to be called Mary’s “Fiat” to the angel Gabriel – from the Latin word for “let it be” (Lk 1:38) – for the “Yes” of Jesus in Gethsemane (Lk 22:42) and the “Yes, Thy will be done” of the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:10).
However so slight, however so muted, however so small, our freely-chosen “Yes” can also today echo Mary, now our mother.
Child of Mine
He needs you, needs you now;
Son, he has no wine.
He calls out now for you;
Son, he too is a son of mine.
She needs you, needs you now;
Son, she has no wine.
She calls out now for you;
Son, she too is a daughter of mine.
All these children in my care
Need to taste Your wine.
All of these who call to you,
All are children of mine.
Copyright GM 2015
Used With Permission, Originally in Catholic Lane, January 24, 2015