“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” These are the words of St. Elizabeth from Luke’s Gospel. Today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Lord, when a pregnant Mary went down to lend assistance to her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. The two women were pregnant with hope! One carried the long awaited Messiah, the other woman carried His forerunner. It is like the dawn for Israel after a long night. Mary performed an act of charity for Elizabeth, and received praise from Elizabeth for her faith, her yes.
Mary is a generous person. As a person of sincere faith, she said yes many times in her life. At the angel Gabriel’s words, she was naturally and supernaturally inclined to say yes. She is the embodiment of simplicity, openess, and trust. Mary is the Daughter Zion, the faithful bride. She is not like the Israel of the past, who chased after false gods. She is not like the prophet Hosea’s unfaithful wife, Gomer, who was a symbol of the wickedness of the covanent people. No, Mary is a symbol of the faithfulness and willingness of the covenant people. She said yes, because her faith disposed her to do so. Her charity led her to help Elizabeth, and this led to rejoicing. AT the Visitation, Mary prayed the Magnificat, her great praise hymn, which she prayed on behalf of all the sons and daughters of Israel. The Church prays this prayer every day, at Evening Prayer.
Mary is blessed becuase she believed and said yes. But this momentous yes, at the moment on which all history hinged, was conditioned by many other previous “yes-es”, in many mundane, ordinary situations. There are extraordinary moments in life which define a life, but there are many more ordinary ones. On this day when we reflect on Mary’s “yes”, we may also reflect on the numerous “yes- es” of other people, such as our military men and women. Their “yes”, even unto death, was just comemorated on Memorial Day. They put aside a normal life and allowed themselves to be inserted into the horror of war, because they discerned that a greater good needed to be served. That good was given in service to you and I, and we commemorate that “yes”.
I have been reflecting on the “yes” of Deacon Brandon Kleckner. He was ordained to the Diaconate on April 30th, and after finishing his final year of studies at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, PA, he will be ordained to the priesthood in 2012. How generous of him to pledge himself to clerical obedience, celibacy, and the life of prayer! May we be inspired by his “yes”. Also, Deacon Jason Feigh will be ordained to the Priesthood on June 10th at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Erie. Jason has been in the seminary for 8 years, entering at 18 years old. He will devote his whole adult life to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ in ministry to the Diocese. His “yes” will ensure that the Eucharist is given to the faithful.
He will be ordained by Bishop Donald Trautman, who will soon be retiring as our Ordinary after 21 years of ministry. His yes has brought spiritual life to our Diocese many times over. His yes has extended the Apostolic witness to a new generation of believers. He has ensured that the Gospel message will be passed on until Christ comes again. The Episcopacy is a very hard vocation in the Church, especially in these days. We commend our Bishop for his “yes”.
Finally, I reflect on the “yes” of Daniel Meola and Bethany Musser, friends of mine who were married over the weekend. Their generous hearts have been united in love. Who knows what fruits will be borne from their generosity? There is great potential for life and holiness from their “yes”.
What will your “yes” mean? All of these people said “yes” in defining moments of their lives, but first said yes in the mundane, ordinary moments. Will you manage to say “yes” in the ordinary, so that you might say “yes” in the extraordinary?