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Following The Truth: What If Mary Said “No”? (Catholic or Open) ^ | October 13th, 2009 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/23/2011 9:48:45 AM PST by Salvation

What If Mary Said “No”?

October 13th, 2009 by Gary Zimak

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Annunciation as told in Chapter 1 of Luke’s gospel. The angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and informed her that she had been chosen to be the Mother of the Savior. Mary agreed, Jesus was born and the entire human race was redeemed. Sounds simple, right? Did you ever consider what would have happened if Mary said, “no”?

Sometimes we forget that Mary had free will and wasn’t forced to go along with the plan that would result in the birth of our Savior. It’s easy to get caught up in the story and ignore the fact that the Blessed Mother could have refused God’s offer. According to the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium ,  “The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman (Eve) had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.” St. Irenaeus, one of the early Church Fathers, stated, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Let’s examine Mary’s life and see how her “yes” occurred not only on that special day, but continued throughout her life. By looking at her constant submission to God’s will, we’ll explore how Mary’s life can be a model for each of us.

The Bible tells us that Mary was “greatly troubled” when visited by the angel Gabriel. Why? It wasn’t because of the fact that she didn’t trust God. In fact, once the angel revealed God’s plan there is no further mention of Mary being troubled. For most of us, our worrying would start as soon as God revealed His plan. However, Mary embraced God’s plan without needing to know all of the details. The most likely reason for Mary being troubled is because of her humility. She couldn’t understand why the angel would visit her and address her as “full of grace”. A truly humble individual doesn’t recognize their humility and our Blessed Mother’s concern is an illustration of that virtue.

Continuing with the story, the angel informed Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of the long awaited Savior. Having most probably made a lifetime vow of virginity (in the opinion of Pope John Paul II and many others), Mary asked how this would be possible. Gabriel informed her that it would take place by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary responded with the words, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” If anything, the angel’s explanation should have made Mary more reluctant, but her incredible trust in God enabled her to agree to the plan without hesitation.

To put things in perspective, imagine the angel Gabriel visiting you today and asking you to become a religious education teacher, to start attending daily Mass, to speak about Christ in your workplace, to read the Bible more frequently, to contribute a greater amount to charity, etc. Would your answer be “May it be done to me according to your word” or would it be a series of questions or excuses? As Pope John Paul II stated in his address on July 3, 1996, “Mary was asked to assent to a truth never expressed before (a virginal motherhood). She accepted it with a simple yet daring heart.” How do we respond to the comparatively minor tasks asked of us by the Lord? Do we accept willingly or do we cite numerous reasons why it isn’t possible? While most of us have not experienced the visible presence of an angel, we have all felt this call to increased service or devotion at some point in our lives. That request may come in the form of a thought, a suggestion from a friend or a statement in a homily or television program. We may brush it off as being unimportant, but that is usually how the Lord calls us. Have we responded to His call with the same willingness exhibited by Mary?

This eagerness to submit to God’s will continued throughout the Blessed Mother’s life. As soon as Jesus was conceived in her womb, Mary traveled “in haste” to assist her relative, Elizabeth, who was 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist. When Mary arrived, Elizabeth proclaimed her to be “blessed among women” and questioned why she was honored to be visited by “the mother of my Lord”. Desiring to give all the glory to God, Mary responded with her famous Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55), which acknowledged God’s greatness and her own lowliness. Even though Mary had been chosen to deliver the Savior of the world, she still managed to give all the credit to God and boast only of her own weakness. Despite all of the turmoil that was going on in her own life, Mary stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months. This display of charity gives us a great example of how to serve others without counting the cost. Do we always serve others with the same selflessness exhibited by Mary? When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, do we then share Him with others as Mary did with Elizabeth?

After Jesus was born, Mary continued to seek God’s will for her life. As events occurred in her daily life as the mother of Jesus, scripture tells us that she meditated and “kept them in her heart” (Lk 2:19,50) In fact, her last appearance in scripture finds her praying with the apostles for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). Do we imitate Mary by frequently praying for an increase of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Do we attempt to discern God’s will in our own lives through meditation and prayer?

When Mary and Joseph presented the baby Jesus in the temple, the holy man Simeon informed Mary of the great suffering that would be a part of her life (Lk 2:35). This prophecy would be fulfilled as she stood at the foot of the cross and watched the crucifixion of her Son (Jn 19:25). Mary never tried to avoid this suffering, knowing that it was part of God’s will. How do we handle the suffering that we encounter in our own lives? Do we lash out and attempt to avoid it or, like Mary, do we unite our suffering with the sacrifice of Christ as He hangs on the cross?

Would you like to get closer to Jesus and discover His plan for your life? Turn to Mary and ask for her help. Her entire life consisted of submitting to God’s will and she will help you to do the same. When He was dying on the cross, Jesus gave Mary to the “beloved disciple” John. Recognizing that we are all beloved disciples, the Church extends that offer of motherhood to each one of us. Your mother will help lead you to Jesus. Her last recorded words in scripture (at the wedding feast in Cana), provide us with the advice that is guaranteed to keep us on the right path – “Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you.”

Since Mary didn’t say “no” to God, we can only speculate on what would have happened had she done so. However, we do know what happened because she said “yes.” God used her to deliver our Savior! Throughout her life, the Blessed Mother repeatedly trusted in God’s plan. By meditating on her life and asking for her intercession, we can begin to trust God with our lives. Each day we have the opportunity to say “yes” or “no” to God. When things happen to us that we don’t understand, do we trust God or do we complain? Do we always obey the teachings of the Church founded by Jesus, or do we only obey those teachings with which we agree? Do we seek to become closer to Christ by meditating upon His life and keeping Him “in our hearts”? Do we make an effort to encounter Jesus through the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession as often as possible? Throughout her life, Mary always said “yes” to God … How about you?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: annunciation; blessedvirginmary; catholic; nativity
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Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (, a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.

1 posted on 12/23/2011 9:48:49 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Catholic Ping!

Because of Mary's "Yes" we can say:

A blessed Christmas to all of you!

2 posted on 12/23/2011 9:52:23 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation; thesaleboat; Sick of Lefties; Chainmail; StrongandPround; lilyramone; crusadersoldier; ..

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

3 posted on 12/23/2011 9:53:03 AM PST by narses
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To: All
Following The Truth: What If Mary Said “No”? (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Jesus Is Waiting – Don’t Forget To RSVP! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: So, You Just Received Jesus…Now What? (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: An Advent Challenge: Love Your Enemies! (Catholic and Open)
Following The Truth: The Journey To Bethlehem is Not Comfortable! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Does God Want Us To Worry? (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: The Morning Offering – Pray Without Ceasing! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: A (Lenten) Advent “Weight” Loss Program (Catholic or Open)

Following The Truth: Hurry Up, Lord…I’m Waiting! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Evangelize? Sorry, But I’m Catholic! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should!) (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Letting Your Conscience Be Your Guide(What Jiminy Cricket Didn’t Tell You) [Catholic or Open]
Following The Truth: Catholic “Fluff” – The Enemy Within (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Appreciating The Gift Of Suffering (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Satan’s Attack On The Church – What You Can Do! (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Saying “Y-E-S” to God During Lent (and Advent) [Catholic or Open]
Following the Truth: Spiritual Dryness: “I Don’t Feel Anything!” (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: A Biblical Roadmap To The One, True Church (Catholic or Open)

4 posted on 12/23/2011 9:54:12 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: narses

Well...since you asked. Some people just have too much time on their hands!

5 posted on 12/23/2011 9:57:46 AM PST by old school
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To: All
"Is God smart enough not to make a rock so big that even He cannot move it?"
6 posted on 12/23/2011 10:04:29 AM PST by Alex Murphy (
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To: Salvation

Little known fact, Martha actually said no first and then the angel went to Mary.

The interesting question for me is what if Martha said yes?

7 posted on 12/23/2011 10:10:00 AM PST by Tramonto (Draft Palin)
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To: Salvation

I believe it is the wrong question altogether.

It is like asking: “If Mary had said ‘No’ would God have been surprised?”

Let’s try to think in terms of God and not in terms of finite Man — it got us in trouble since Adam and Eve.

8 posted on 12/23/2011 10:10:17 AM PST by 353FMG
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To: Tramonto

You’ve got the wrong “Mary” I believe.

9 posted on 12/23/2011 10:13:21 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: 353FMG

But Christ is true God as well as true Man.

10 posted on 12/23/2011 10:14:37 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Well there was Mary’s Immaculate Conception. How would that be if Mary said no?

11 posted on 12/23/2011 10:18:23 AM PST by ex-snook ("above all things, truth beareth away the victory")
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To: Salvation

No, you got the wrong Martha.

12 posted on 12/23/2011 10:20:00 AM PST by Tramonto (Draft Palin)
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To: Salvation

She really didn’t have a choice in the matter.

God chose Mary.

13 posted on 12/23/2011 10:23:12 AM PST by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: ex-snook

That be a pretty good point there

14 posted on 12/23/2011 10:23:29 AM PST by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: Tramonto

Scriptural references for this, please.

15 posted on 12/23/2011 10:26:22 AM PST by ReformationFan
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To: Salvation

What IF... it didnt happen at all the way it is reported to have happened.. from conception to birth..
but in a miraculous way instead of a normal(natural) way..

A way worthy of a God not David Copperfield.. What if?..
How “it” happened was to convince Joseph and Mary not anyone else..
What if “there are no words” to explain how Jesus arrived on this planet..
So the first sound byte was invented.. a cover story..

How Jesus got here can be and is in some places a distraction(a diversion) to who Jesus “IS”..
meaning the spiritual Jesus not the flesh Jesus..

Wonder which republican candidate the spiritual Jesus is for NOW...
He may be for Barack Obama to punish America for abortion..

16 posted on 12/23/2011 10:27:49 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: Salvation

Oh, where to start?! First of all, Gabriel told Mary that she WILL give birth to th Savior. It was a done deal. No permission or assent was requested. Mary of course gave her assent anyway, and her faith and obedience is to be commended and emulated. But to suggest that she could have thwarted the redemptive plan of God is ludicrous, perhaps even heretical. It elevates a human above God. Second, following you reasoning, the same “hyperdulia” (worship lite?) should be given to the multitudes of Jesus’ ancestors who (by your logic) could have prevented the incarnation by disobedience and thus breaking the Davidic line. Take Noah, by your logic he is every bit as responsible for the appearance of the Messiah as Mary. No ark- no Jesus. Why no hyperdulia for poor Noah? Of course the fallacy here is that God cannot cary out His plan absent our obedience. Scripture is replete with examples of God carrying out His plan despite human disobedience and sin, even using sin to advance His plan. Mary was no different.

17 posted on 12/23/2011 10:40:46 AM PST by armydoc
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To: Tramonto
18 posted on 12/23/2011 10:55:36 AM PST by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: ReformationFan; starlifter
Scriptural references for this, please.

No references necessary. Its tradition which trumps scripture. Sure the tradition started 2,000 years after the fact but scripture must be interpreted by the traditions that began centuries and millennia after the events recorded in scripture.

19 posted on 12/23/2011 11:07:22 AM PST by Tramonto (Draft Palin)
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To: Salvation

I’m pretty sure God knew what Mary’s answer would be. After all, He IS omniscient.

20 posted on 12/23/2011 11:12:15 AM PST by crosshairs (Liberalism is to truth, what east is to west.)
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