(Samuel 24:3-21, 10-22A; Psalm 57:2, 3-4, 6 and 11. 18-19; Mark 3:13-19)
As I often do when reflecting on daily scripture, I asked myself why does the Church want us to read this particular scripture today? At first blush I was a bit perplexed, then today’s reflection began to take form in my heart as I sat in the Adoration Chapel after morning Mass. Revealing to me how God works through his children when they surrender to his will, when they say yes to him, my heart was taken by storm.
In both our first reading and our Gospel we witness the ever lasting impact a “yes” to God has on all of humanity. David, while tempted to harm Saul, chose Godly righteousness instead. The Twelve, well we know the rest of the story there. David would become a great king whose lineage would eventually give the world Mary, Joseph and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Twelve would become an integral part of the birth of Christianity – even Judas Iscariot woud play an essential part. I can only imagine that these men had no idea how powerful their yes would be!
What would the world look like if all of humanity said yes to God’s plan for their lives? What would the world look like if each and every one of us prayed a heartfelt daily rosary, a chaplet, or a novena for one another with love? Be still our beating hearts. Of course, we would have heaven on earth – immediately my friends. Love would permeate every inch of this beautiful planet; there would be no more pain, no more disease, no more loneliness, no more separation, no longer would we harm one another, no longer would we hate our brothers, and no longer would we experience the death of sin. Yes, our hearts would overflow with the goodness of love, grace, hope and joy. All would enjoy life as God originally intended so long ago in that garden.
Sadly, all of mankind is not ready to say yes to God today; however, we can individually choose to give him our yes and this will leave a positive imprint on our planet. We can choose to journey down the path God has created for each and every one of us as did David and Jesus’ Apostles. And how rich are the avenues available to us within our Catholic Church when we seek to give our yes – the Sacraments, the Mass, the outreach programs, the social events – the list goes on and on. Yes, the fellowship available to us within Catholicism is rich beyond our wildest dreams.
While our Church offers many opportunities to grow in love for one another and say yes to God, I would like to share with all of you an event called Mary’s WAY (Women Answering Yes), a beautiful dinner that brings the women of a parish together in fellowship and love. The event is lovely, full of beauty and held in honor of our Blessed Mother. During the event you will find the dinner table set with fine china and flowers, the menu is carefully selected, a spiritual speaker is invited to present and the men of the parish, dressed in their formal attire, serve the ladies. Feminine beauty is celebrated, motherhood is celebrated, sisterhood is celebrated and friendship is celebrated as a parish comes together to honor the humble yes of our Savior’s Mother.
I was privileged to be the speaker at a Mary’s Way dinner last October at All Saint’s Parish in Guilford, Indiana (USA), and I have to share with all of you that I was deeply touched by the love I felt in the hearts of the women there. The evening fostered an atmosphere of grace, love and beauty. This Mary’s WAY dinner, as they all do, spoke to the richness of our faith as the event honored both our Blessed Mother and her Son while fostering a sense of unity and love among the attendees. I was so moved by the event that I invite your parish to consider holding a Mary’s WAY dinner.
A little background on Mary’s WAY. Created in the heart of Ann Winkle, and born out of her love for Jesus through Mary at a diocesan retreat, Mary’s WAY supports our internal desire, as devout Catholics, to openly share our love for Jesus and Mary. Ann was blessed to grow up in a home where her parents and grandparents lived their Catholic faith, their yes to God was an everyday event! As a family they prayed the rosary and they kept Jesus and Mary very much alive in their daily activities for all to see. This eventually created in Ann’s heart a deep desire to create a space where other women could confidently do the same – openly express their love for our Lord and his mother. This vision included a renewal of the rosary for today’s generation. How beautiful!
Beginning in Ann’s small parish of 700 with 97 attendees, Mary’s WAY dinners have been known to draw upwards of 300 women. The speakers have been priests, Catholic lay women, singer/songwriters and other professionals. The topics have ranged from presentations on Fatima, Divine Mercy and St. Faustina, All Souls Day, End of Life issues, artificial birth control, human triumph, family miracles, and the power of forgiveness. Not only does Mary’s WAY foster an environment of Christian unity and love, it brings the Blessed Mother into our everyday lives. Yes, Mary’s WAY, and Ann Winkle’s yes, continues to open the door for God’s healing to enter into the world so that His will be done! Thank you Ann for your yes. I sincerely hope that many others experience the beauty I was privileged to experience at a Mary’s WAY dinner.