Tucked into Psalm 40 are two little lines: “I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being.” For years this verse has been a favorite of mine because of its simplicity and joyful honesty. I like to think Mary recited these lines as a young girl — singing the psalms of David while weaving or carrying water from the well. It sure seems like she did, because when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she was to bear the son of God, Mary was ready: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
The feast of the Annunciation — celebrated this year on April 8 instead of March 25 because the 25th fell within Holy Week — is all about Mary’s humble acquiescence to God’s will in her life. And it’s this acquiescence that every faithful person is called to emulate. To do this, as one priest said while celebrating Mass on the feast day, we must be “our own selves in a good and holy way.”
It’s a domino effect: By being holy people we follow God’s will. And by following God’s will we find happiness and peace.
Nine years of reporting in the Catholic press taught me those truths. Every profile or feature story worth printing revolved around the subject’s compliance with God’s will in his or her life. And the results consistently amazed.
All throughout this issue, too, are examples of the good that comes from saying “yes” to God’s will. Kiki Latimer from Rhode Island said “yes” by helping build a village in Haiti (Page 13). Young (and old) are saying “yes” to their call to a vocation to the married life by seeking a spouse with similar values on CatholicMatch.com (Pages 6-7). As baby boomers retire, they are saying “yes” to using their gifts of time, talent and treasure to serve on parish committees and to volunteer. And, as that large population continues to age, their caretakers — and many parishes — are saying “yes” by treating the elderly with dignity (Pages 9-12).
In a less overt way, many faithful Catholics say a consistent “yes” to God’s will through their virtuous actions, including by living out the virtue of fortitude in the Faith as outlined by Russell Shaw (Page 14). This is the seventh of 12 installments — sincerity, unity and chastity were among the others — of a monthly series.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent his apostles out into the world to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). This Easter command particularly is meaningful in this Year of Faith and as the Church promotes the New Evangelization by encouraging all people — especially those who may have fallen away from the Faith — to take another look at Mary’s holy example.
It’s my hope that these stories and others inspire and encourage each of us, in our own good and holy ways, to live every day delighting in doing the will of the Lord.
I welcome your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org.