Monday, March 26, 2007

The Word Made Flesh

Peace and Good! There are two extreme views of human free will: the ‘scientific’ view that we have none, that all is genetically, physically, and chemically predetermined, or its opposite, that our own will is the ultimate reality, the ultimate good. It is this second view that Milton puts into the mouth of Lucifer: “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”
The feast of the Annunciation tells us that neither extreme is correct. We have a free will, and that will enables us to consent or not to being what we are: creatures of God. Yet, saying ‘yes’ to God does not mean that things are within our control. Mary says ‘yes’ to God through the angel (thank you, Mother), but she does not know all that it will entail. She does not control the way in which her Son will be the Messiah. That’s why her ‘yes’ was not complete until she stood beneath the cross and accepted that her Son, crucified and dying, was still indeed the Messiah, the Son of God.
Francis did not know what accepting the Lord’s will in his life would entail. He reminded himself often in prayer that it was “a true and holy will.” Sometimes this was obvious, sometimes it was not. But he ultimately had faith in the fact that God is good and so God’s will is what is best for us.
We all have to struggle to live this by learning to say ‘yes’ to God in our lives. We do this in many different ways. Parents accepting a child into their lives are called to say, ‘yes, we will accept this child,’ even though they have no idea how that infant will turn out. The way of conversion is the way of faith, believing the in goodness of God and seeking His will. We don’t do that all at once: conversion is a daily process.

Today let us ask those who have gone through this to help us: Holy Mary, our Mother, Francis and all the saints. Let it be done to us according to God’s Word, the Word made Flesh who dwells among us.

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