We know that God chose Mary to be Christ’s mother. We also know, however, that Mary was free to reject this call. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “’God sent forth his Son,’ but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free cooperation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman …” (CCC 488).
Emphasizing the “free cooperation” idea, the Catechism then says, “The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother.” So we believe that God intended Mary to be the mother of Christ, and that he knew that she would accept – but we also believe that she was free to say no. Paradoxical, perhaps, but true.
And if Mary had said no? It’s hard to say how the Savior would have come to us, but we can be confident he would have come somehow. God’s plan can’t be thwarted by a single individual.
Overall, it’s good to remember that we are happiest when we discern and follow God’s plan for us. When we do that, the world as a whole benefits, too. That’s why Mary’s “yes” makes her such a powerful role model and guide.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. You can visit her blog at www.blog.maryandme.org