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  • Sr. Miriam Elizabeth, OSH

Saying Yes

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

“The Word became flesh and lived among us…” (John 1:14). Amid inflatable holiday characters dotting front yards, trees sparkling with ornaments, bells ringing for donations and plastic nativity scenes in church yards, there is flesh. Specifically, God in the flesh, born among us. Jesus was born of a woman in the way that all humans are born, accompanied by pain, body fluids and perhaps a lusty cry from tiny lungs. As with the birth of any child, it was a miracle, perhaps even a miracle of miracles.

As much as I love Jesus, my thoughts this time of year often turn to Mary, who before the pregnancy and the birth was visited by the angel Gabriel. While many have reflected on the message that Gabriel delivered, John of the Cross (1542-1591), mystic, priest and Carmelite friar, spoke to a different purpose for Gabriel’s visit – not to deliver a message, but to receive the message of Mary’s consent. Speaking of the great mystery of God becoming human in the Incarnation, John in his “Romances” wrote:

“God called the archangel Gabriel and sent him to the virgin Mary, at whose consent the mystery was wrought.”

John’s words suggest that it was not a simple case of God needing Mary’s permission to act, but that it was her consent which was the very cause of the Incarnation. The mystery of the Word made flesh, of the divine born human, of the child Jesus born to save the world, was wrought “at her consent.” Mary’s consent was and is an essential piece of the mystery that continues to unfold today. Her consent was the means by which God became human.

All of which leaves me wondering. What have I consented to which then bore God into the world in a tangible and living way? Where can my “Yes!” make a difference today?

–Sr. Miriam Elizabeth, OSH

How might you be called to bear God into the world in a small or large way? What are you pondering right now that might mean more love and life in the world?

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