Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Feast Day for Teenagers (and unborn children, and the rest of us!)

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, which is also the feast day of my college household, The Handmaids of the Lord, at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Happy Feast Day!! to all my household sisters who may be reading this.

It's a feast day that has always been close to my heart.  Mary's "yes" or her fiat is something that I learned about while doing a Consecration to Jesus through Mary while in high school. I can't remember the name of the first one that I did, but it was very similar to the Luis De Montefort Consecration that I've done a few times as well.  Making the Consecration for the first time was an entirely new concept for me. It was the first time I had encountered this idea of Mary's simple 'yes' and what is means for the rest of us.  It was very contrary to what I thought becoming an adult was all about- making my own choices and freedom!

When Mary was asked to the Mother of God, it wasn't as grand as it sounds now.  Angel Gabriel appeared out of nowhere and asked this unwed 15 year old to be the mother of the Savior of the world.  She had no idea how this was all going to work out and I'm sure when the Angel said, "the Spirit of the Most High will over shadow you, " it didn't make all  her questions disappear! But full of grace, and full of faith, she knew that God had always been her protector in the past and would continue if she but follow Him. Full of humilty, she accepted what she did not fully understand and undertook what she knew would be a big responsibility.  She was chosen because of her deep humility and her transparency to God and His Holy Will.

Reading this at 16 years old was a real eye opener for me.  Teenagers, by their very nature, reject any notion of following anyone else's orders and think they are basically the center of the universe (or at least I did!).  My parents can confirm this.  But following God's will seemed much more palatable than following my parent's or my teacher's will, so I accepted. Not until much later did I realize that following God's Will was the same as following my parent's or teacher's will too.

The covenant for the Handmaids of the Lord was the reason I chose their household above other ones. FYI, a household at F.U.S. is something like a sorority of fraternity, just religious based and each has their own covenant.  Here is a little part of that covenant that I found from the F.U.S. website:

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word.” (Luke 1:38) We strive to follow the will of God in our lives as Mary did and to imitate her compassion, humility, simplicity, and gentleness so that when others look at us, they see only Jesus. Personal prayer is our foundation (1 The 5:17). We strive for unity as sisters in Christ. No matter where people are at in their personal relationship with the Lord, we want to accept them and encourage them to grow.

All the things the covenant required was something I had decided to do before even entering college, so the Handmaids were a natural fit for me. I continue to ask the Lord what His Will is for me in my life but now it is very different than it was while I was a teen. Now it doesn't mean doing what my parents want me to do; it is doing what my husband and children want or need me of me.

The Knights of Columbus have appropriately named this day, "The Day of Prayer for the Unborn Child." They are encouraging people to say a rosary today for unborn children.  I think it is a very appropriate name being Mary said yes to an unborn child when she was in a time of uncertainty. If only more people had Mary's humility in saying yes to unborn children instead of acting like unruly teenagers demanding choices and freedom founded on pride and lies (which is never really a choice or a freedom), our world would be more like Heaven.   I will join the Knights of Columbus today and pray for the unborn children and their mothers to have a heart more like Mary's.

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