| By Pete Burak

Respond to God’s Invitation!

Mary saying yes to God was one of the most significant acts of obedience in human history. The destiny of humanity was forever flipped by a young woman, alone, in the small Judean town of Nazareth. The simple, yet confident response of “Be it done to me according to your will” remains both unbelievably inspiring and remarkably attainable. With those words, Mary shows us how simple, but not easy, it is to be a disciple of her Son. It begins, is sustained and culminates with “yes.” We’re called to a constant, persevering, unshakeable, loving, hopeful and grateful fiat (Latin for “let it be done”).

The entire history of the Church is marked by women and men who devoted their lives to a radical, simple and often hidden obedience to God which, ironically, produced incredible missionary fruitfulness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary cooperated with God’s loving plan for her life, and through that same Spirit, we are called to do the same. Mary received a unique invitation from Gabriel, one of unparalleled consequence, but each of us receives our own unique invitation! Mary’s fiat led to the Word becoming flesh inside her, and ultimately Jesus being born into the world. Guess what? Our fiat leads to us becoming temples of the Holy Spirit by which we bring Jesus to the world around us.

Too often, we reduce missionary activity to big events with bright lights and famous speakers. We let ourselves off the evangelistic hook because there are professionals to carry the load. Unfortunately, when we do either of those things, we aren’t following Mary’s example of humble obedience. All missionary activity, all fruitful evangelistic work, all expansion of God’s kingdom begins with a hidden “yes,” a quiet amen, a simple “thy will, not my will.” This will grow into more opportunities to express your fiat, which probably won’t include traveling to Bethlehem on a donkey but may look like evangelistic coffee dates, grace-filled text messages and divinely inspired moments to chat over the fence with your next-door neighbor. Friends, find your Nazareth, your hidden place, where you can passionately and with deep conviction say “yes” to Jesus, and then wait and see what the Spirit grows in and through you!