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Mary’s “yes” and the key to making decisions

Virgin Mary and Angel

Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 03/25/23

The Annunciation reveals two important things that can help when we're struggling to make a big decision.

Every year, the Catholic app Universalis publishes the same meditation for the feast of the Annunciation. I believe they do this because this essay has such an important message. 

Please read the reflection in its entirety here. You will find in it so much to ponder and help you on your spiritual journey.

One part of it really caught my attention as I reread it recently. It addresses how Mary made such an enormous decision:

Faced with the enormity of her choice, how was Mary able to decide? …

When we come to an important decision in our lives, we can easily find our minds clouded by the possible consequences, or, even more, by partial knowledge of them. How can we ever move, when there is so much good and evil whichever way we go?  

The Annunciation gives us the answer. God’s grace will give us the strength to move, even if the fate of the whole world is hanging in the balance. After all, God does not demand that our decisions should be the correct ones (assuming that there even is such a thing), only that they should be rightly made.

Those words seemed written directly to any of us grappling with big decisions. 

For example, right now I am trying to decide whether to continue homeschooling my children or enroll them in our wonderful parish school. There are real positives and negatives to both options, and it doesn’t seem that there’s a clear “correct” option, which makes the decision all the harder.

There are so many times in life when we face big choices. You may be trying to decide whether to change jobs, whether to move to a different city, whether the person you’re dating is the right person for you to marry, or any of many other important decisions.

This meditation on today’s feast helped me realize two important things when I’m struggling with a decision.

1There isn’t always a clear right answer

As the author says, sometimes there isn’t even a clear “correct option.” All we can do is try to make our decisions “rightly,” that is, with prudent discernment and full knowledge.

So if you are struggling with knowing the “right choice,” it can help to know that there really may not be one.

2God will give you the strength you need, either way

The really important corollary is that God will accompany and strengthen us along either path: “God’s grace will give us the strength to move.”

God won’t leave us, but will help us along whatever course we decide.

It makes me think of my favorite book, Kristin Lavransdatter. The character Lavrans is a good and holy father who has planned a beautiful future for his beloved daughter, Kristin. Yet she chooses her own will over his plans, again and again. So he keeps adjusting his plans according to what she chooses, continually finding new ways to map out a good future for her even as she keeps choosing differently than what he wants for her. 

In a similar way, God continually finds new ways to work all things for our good, whatever way we turn. 

So when we struggle to make a big decision, let’s hold on to these words from Scripture: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleDevotions and FeastsLiturgyMaryVirgin Mary
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