Our late -- and great -- Holy Father Pope John Paul II encouraged us to help create a culture of life by the witness of how we live our own lives and the choices we make. And our actions and choices always affect those around us -- whether we realize it or not. In a moment of weakness when choosing to practice virtue seems too difficult, it is sometimes the example of a friend or coworker that helps us to persevere.
Behold, then, the example of Our Lady. She said "Yes" to the Lord when she was faced with what seemed to be an impossible promise. Since the dawn of creation, Almighty God has waited for one of His beloved creatures to utter an unfaltering, "YES" to Him and His holy will. Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Mary's "Yes" to the Lord is the trend-setting response toward which all the baptized should direct their gaze.
"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." Mary trusted the Lord when common sense might have suggested otherwise. We are challenged to do the same thing every single day: Can it ever be the case that my annoying coworker will respond to my gentle overtures in a positive way? After a few initial experiences of rejection, we might be tempted to turn away and ignore the office curmudgeon; it's much easier than reaching out and the risk of disappointment is smaller. Do we trust, however, that whatever we do to the least of His little ones we have done to the Lord? If we do, then we might try new ways to engage the local grouch. If at first it seems too difficult, perhaps we would receive the grace to do so after we witness one of our colleagues being solicitous and kind to this company crosspatch. If a coworker's example can help us grow beyond the limits of our own comfort, how much more, then, can the example of Our Lady help us to grow in holiness. Virtue, like many less-desirable afflictions such as the common cold or the chicken pox, is highly contagious. Infect someone today with your good example!
"Never were there seen so many merits and so much love carried to Heaven by any pure creature as the most holy Virgin brought there at her glorious Assumption. In reward for this, the eternal and great King, the Almighty God, gave her a degree of glory worthy of her greatness, and also power to distribute to her clients graces worthy of her liberality and magnificence."
St. Francis de Sales