Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey film “Yes Man” ? It’s a pretty good movie and if you like Jim Carrey, it is a very good movie. Unknowingly (but now I know), Jim Carrey was raised in the Roman Catholic church. And as I reflect on that fact I look back at some of his films and that makes sense, well at least ” Bruce Almighty ” makes sense, “Ace Ventura ” does not. Well anyway, in “Yes Man” the basic premise is that he can not say no, only yes.
Another reflection is that of Mary when the angel Gabriel came to her to inform that she will bear a child. Take notice how Gabriel phrases this (Luke 19) “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” A bit confused at first but what does she say? “I am but the handmaiden of the Lord” , in laymans terms – Yes! . God had to wait for her yes. Why? By the grace of free will God bestows on each and everyone of us.
Mary’s yes is the most famous “Yes” for all of us. But what about Joseph? Once Joseph found out that Mary was with child, he was very confused as well. And after an angel came to him in a dream, he awoke and chose to say “yes” and continue with the plans to marry Mary. It is clear to me that Joseph exercised his free will to chose.
I believe part of understanding the “yes” that Mary confessed is that she had the faith in God that God had faith in her to say “yes”. Mary may not have understood why she said “yes” at the time. But with prayer and patience the understanding and the fullness of her “yes” came clearer to her.
What can we learn from Mary’s “yes” ? faith that the Big Guy upstairs has faith in us to choose the right path and the patience to wait for it. We are constantly in a hurry to get somewhere fast. We want answers now. We are not patient and are constantly trying to prove ourself to ourself. I think back to when I was baptized around the age 14 or 15, I was “old”. I wouldn’t say I was badgered by anyone to get baptized soon but I did feel the pressure all around me. To me I just wasn’t in a hurry. Today when I drive almost anywhere I am not usually in a hurry and unfortunately when I start a project at home, I am not in a hurry to complete the task! But fortunately God has patience with us just like He did with Mary and Joseph and like the father in the parable of the prodigal son. He waits for us.
He waits for our “yes”, patiently.
Other “Yes” men and women;
- The Twelve apostles who left their careers and families to follow Jesus.
- Paul – left a nice pension with the Roman army, converted to christianity and turned out to be a pretty good preacher and an “apostle to the gentiles”.
- Mathias – said “yes” to the apostles after they elected him to replace Judas in the group of twelve. This process is still relevent today in the Church.
- Constantine – saying “yes” to christianity and for no longer outlawing it in the Roman Empire.
- St Justin Martyr – writing down the teachings from the apostles concerning the eucharist.
- St. Augustine – for saying yes to writing down the early works of the church on infant baptism, the eucharist, original sin and many more.
- Jozef (“Jef”) De Veuster – Saint Damien of Molokai. Father Damien said yes to those in need. He helped those with leprosy in the islands of Hawaii, when no one else would.
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini – she could not swim and was afraid of water yet she said yes to Pope Leo XIII and voyaged across the Atlantic to the United States.
- Charles Carroll – signer of the Declaration of Independence said “yes” to financial support to the war. Later his cousin John Carroll would become the first Bishop in the United States and started Georgetown University.
I am sure there are many more you could add – so please do.