Many of you, I am sure, can remember the day of your entrance into Religious Life. It was a momentous occasion with tears of joy mingled with those of sadness. On that day you had a rough vision of what the rest of your life would look like, and knew that your life choice was an offering up of married life and the prospect of children.
On this day we celebrate the “entrance” of Our Lady when, according to the tradition of the Church, she was presented in the Temple by her parents Anne and Joachim and dedicated to a life of consecrated virginity. Her life had an expected trajectory and there was no reason to doubt that these plans would not come to fruition since it seemed to be the Will of God. Why would God not fulfill this plan?
We all know what happens at the Annunciation when it seems as if God changes His mind. Why did He wait almost ten years? You would think He would have hinted to her or her parents at some point! Does Mary protest? Does she quit? Does she think she “failed” God? Of course not!
In a very particular way, we are conformed to Mary’s Immaculate Heart since we too have offered ourselves to the Lord, and we too have experienced the crumbling of our expectations.
But this sudden change is not a failure or a rejection!
The reason we can look to Mary as a model is not just that Mary did not complain or sit there feeling sorry for herself. More importantly, she also knew that this “mistake” was still part of God’s plan. She did not doubt that He would fulfill all of His Promises, and she even rejoiced at the news! Imagine, being an unwed mother in a society that didn’t accept her kind of situation very easily. Imagine having to tell Joseph and her family, and being gossiped about in town.
We can see her as an example of encouragement and proof that God still has great plans for us, that we didn’t “fail” Him or our vocations- since He is infinitely greater than those things (yes, even our vocation)! We can say with the utmost faith that He still receives us as a gift, even though we might feel like the gift of ourselves that we made on our entrance day was not accepted.
He receives you with open arms. You are His Beloved Daughter still and always! Rejoice today as we celebrate the Presentation of Our Lady and let it be a reminder that because of Mary;s “yes” we are able to call ourselves Daughters of God and even “co-heirs” with Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom, regardless of our earthly vocation.