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reflecting the fiat

March 28, 2011

On the Feast of the Annunciation, Rosario and I were discussing our tendency to mull over decisions, both simple and complex.  We think about each detail, discerning our options and analyzing the various effects they could have on our lives.  We do all of this even though both of us tend to know what our final decision will be within the first five to ten minutes.  Thinking and analyzing turn into over-thinking and over-analyzing.

“I was convicted by Fr. Jim’s homily at Mass today,” Rosario said.  “He reminded us that Mary’s yes, her fiat, was immediate.  But he could just imagine angels whispering to her: ‘Say yes… say yes now!’  So why do I feel the need to second guess my immediate response?”

“Because we’ve been conditioned to,” I answered.  “We’ve been encouraged to pray about, discern, and dissect our decisions since we were young.”

I’m not saying that praying to discern God’s will is wrong, because we’ve also been conditioned by our culture to make split-second decisions without regard to the consequences.  Taking the time to know God’s will is important.  That time of discernment requires us to remove ourselves from distractions and quiet our souls so that we might recognize God’s direction.  These intimate moments with the Lord bring us clarity, self-knowledge, and confirmation of His will, and they are necessary as some decisions demand more thought than others.

But neither should we disregard those instances when we immediately know the answer through a prompting of the Holy Spirit, whether it is a gut feeling or a sense of angels whispering the answer in our ear.  “After all, it’s not like the angel Gabriel told Mary to take her time making a decision.  He didn’t say, “Make sure you go over every aspect of how this is going to affect you.  Pray about, discern it, get back to me,” I said to Rosario as we contemplated Mary’s decision-making.  “She was already a woman of prayer and discernment.  God knew she could recognize the promptings of the Holy Spirit and give an immediate and decisive answer.”

These immediate answers are the ones Rosario and I find ourselves over-analyzing.  While it is good to confirm God’s will with further prayer, we also have to trust the Holy Spirit in our lives, as Mary did.  Of course we both recognize that it is only after we further our familiarity with God through prayer and discernment that we will be able to reflect Mary’s fiat.

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