According to Your Will: Mary’s "Yes" and Ours


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According to Your Will: Mary’s “Yes” and Ours

by James Martin, SJ

In the Gospel of Luke, Mary says yes to angel Gabriel, who asks her to bear God’s son. And she does so in perfect freedom. As do we—in our own lives. God meets us in myriad ways, through nature, through prayer, especially through people “For Christ plays in the ten thousand places, lovely in eyes and limbs not his,” as the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote. God invites us to join him, he invites us to follow him, he invites us to create with him.

But the decision is always up to us. We are free to say yes or no to God.

With her yes, Mary partners herself with the Almighty and is empowered to bring Christ into the world. This world-changing yes is what St. Bernard speaks of in one of his sermons on Mary: “Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.”

With our own yes to God’s voice in our lives we are also asked to nurture the word of God within us and bring Christ into the world—certainly not in the same way that Mary was, but in our own situations, and in our own ways. Using our own talents and graces we are called to bring Christ into the lives of others.

In describing the arc of the conversation between Gabriel and Mary, the Gospel of Luke perfectly describes the arc of the spiritual life: God initiates the conversation; we are initially hesitant and fearful; we seek to understand God’s word in our life; God reminds us of our experience, and, free to choose, if we say yes to God, we are able to bring new life into the world.

James Martin, SJ 

James Martin, SJ, is associate editor of America magazine and a prolific author, writer, and editor.

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Books by James Martin, SJ

A Jesuit Off-Broadway

Behind the Scenes with Faith, Doubt, Forgiveness, and More

An Off-Broadway cast has plenty of questions about life and faith - and Fr. James Martin, author of My Life with the Saints, is just the right person to offer some answers in A Jesuit Off-Broadway.

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Mi vida con los santos

En Mi vida con los Santos James Martin, SJ nos presenta una conmovedora experiencia respect a su relación con los Santos—desde María, la madre de Jesús, hasta San Francisco o la Madre Teresa—y la manera personal en la que ha side dirigido por los heroes de la Iglesia a lo largo de toda su vida.

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Lourdes Diary

Seven Days at the Grotto of Massabieille

Fr. Martin's illuminating and humorous account of seven busy and gratifying days at Lourdes is a vivid description of a place with a special, mysterious spiritual presence.

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Who Cares About the Saints?

Let James Martin, SJ author of the bestselling book My Life with the Saints introduce you to his favorite Catholic saints in this exciting new saints DVD.

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My Life with the Saints (10th Anniversary Edition)

This best-selling memoir of spiritual self-discovery is an homage to the Catholic saints who have accompanied Fr. Martin throughout his life. Click here to download the discussion guide for My Life with the Saints.

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A Jesuit Off-Broadway

Center Stage with Jesus, Judas, and Life’s Big Questions

Theater and theology share the stage in Fr. James Martin’s A Jesuit Off-Broadway, the true story about the making of a celebrated play.

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Awake My Soul

Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions

A contemporary look at traditional devotions from well-known Catholic writers.

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Praying with America

100 Years of Encountering God in Prayer with America Magazine

Praying with America presents and celebrates the diversity of prayer over the past century and offers readers the wisdom and inspiration of leading Catholic thinkers on the practice of prayer.

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