|Growing in Prayer||Offering of Surrender|
|Objective||To learn from the example of Mary and surrender each moment to God|
|Seedtime||16 minutes – 8 minute read, 8 minute song|
|Directive||For 5 days, take 5 minutes at the beginning of the day to meditate on Mary’s Fiat and pray an act of surrender. Take 5 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on what God has done.|
There’s a beautiful song, which I was listening to recently, called Nothing Else by Cody Carnes. Before you do anything else, take some time to be quiet and still, close your eyes and listen to the message of this song.
The whole song is such a heartfelt prayer to Jesus, but the line that really strikes me is, “I’m sorry when I come with my agenda”. How often do we do that? We come before the Lord with a plan of how we want to pray, what we want to say and how long we want to spend with Him. I don’t know if you relate to this, but I certainly do.
We may have good intentions, but God’s love is so much greater than our good intentions. He has a plan for us in each present moment. He knows exactly how He wants to use us and speak to us. But how often do we come before Him with our plans and our agendas? St Teresa of Avila once said, “We pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him”. This is definitely true, but do we regularly come to God and ask Him what He wants of us or what He wants us to pray for?
When I was nineteen, I realised how focused I had become on praying about the future. I wasn’t focused on listening to the Lord for what He wanted of me right in that moment. After my realisation, I started making an act of surrender to God every day. Quite honestly, it was not that I wanted to surrender everything to Him, but I wanted the desire to surrender. Often I let my desire for control take over but through that prayer of surrender I found more peace in my life than I had before. It was only once I let the reins down that I was truly able to see what God was asking of me – a continual and total offering to Him.
Like me a lot of people probably discern God’s Will for the big stuff, but do we seek to do His Will in the little, ordinary everyday things? Every day, we are given new opportunities to follow His Will.
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
I’m sure the arrival of the angel came as a total shock to Mary. One day she was a normal teenage girl seeking to love the Lord, and the next she was offered a chance to love the Lord in a very tangible and sacrificial way. Yet, the message of the angel didn’t faze her. She was ready to accept this message – to become the Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God.
God had been preparing Mary for her mission of motherhood since before she was even born. He chose her. He loved her. He prepared her. But she still needed to say ‘yes’. When Mary gives her fiat, she was not only saying ‘yes’ to this one event. She was welcoming God’s plan throughout her entire life and thereafter. She said ‘yes’ to Jesus’ conception, raising the Son of God and sharing in His suffering.
Mary was a faithful Jewish woman. She had heard the scriptures. She knew that this would mean giving her life in the service of God – to be His Handmaid, His servant. Every day she would need to make a choice to do the Will of the Father. To do whatever He asked. How good it was that from that moment, Jesus was with her every step of the way. By giving her Fiat, she was telling God, “I want whatever You want”.
There was no person on this earth who was more united to God’s Will than Mary. She carried out His Will perfectly. Mary had complete faith in God, and her faith was unwavering. Through grace, her will and God’s Will became one.
“The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel . . . Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary’s faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God’s word.”
God has chosen us too. His deepest desire is for us to love Him and to give Him our ‘yes’ in every moment. He calls us to be faithful just as Mary was faithful. Isn’t that why we were created, to be in perfect union with Him? Just as Mary told God, “I want whatever You want”, so should that be our total offering too.
THE APPARITIONS AT FATIMA
In 1917, Mary appeared six times to three little shepherd children. At every apparition the eldest child, Lucia, began by asking, “What do you want of me?” Despite being so young, she knew God had a purpose for her life and Mary communicated that purpose to her. Out of love, she continually asked to know the Lord’s Will.
God asks each of us to give Him everything. How can He give us His Holy Spirit when we are full of ourselves? In exchange for our dust, He gives us His treasure. Like little Lucia, I want my first prayer every morning to be: “God, what do You want of me?”
WHAT HOLDS US BACK?
Fear of Loss
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Fear of Failure
“I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”
Fear of Pain
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Fear of Rejection
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!”
Fear of Disappointment
“What father among you, if his son asks fora fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Fear of Judgement
“Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him; I will therefore chastise him and release him.”But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”
A wise priest once told me that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is fear. In fear, we are separated from God and the blessings He has for our lives. We run away from Him because we are scared. God promises us: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Let His perfect love remove whatever fear you have in your life, and allow His love to be lavished upon you
Jesus never promised that we wouldn’t be rejected, judged or hurt. Instead, He promised that we would have trouble. He promised that trials would come our way, but He also promised that He would be with us to see them through.
Just like Mary, we may not know all the details, but we do know that God is asking us to offer our lives totally for Him and with Him. From the very moment the angel came to her, she knew that she would suffer. She faced rejection and judgement among many other things. She didn’t ask God to take away the obstacles or to make it easier for her. She simply said, ‘yes’ and accepted whatever God would do in her life. She had whole-hearted trust and obedience of faith. What a wonderful offering to the Father!
When I used to pray about God’s Will for my life, I saw it as one big leap of faith. Now I realise that’s not the case. Instead He leads us in a series of steps. He presents opportunity after opportunity to say ‘yes’ to Him. It’s not about pursuing our agenda. Prayer and worship is not about us. It is an offering, but how good God is that He gives us the grace to follow Him.
When we accept God’s love, we accept all the trials that will come our way, we accept His Salvation and we accept that He knows better than we could ever know here on earth. Let our prayer today be: What do You want of me? I want whatever You want!