Mary’s Yes

Today as we meditate on the wonder and awe of the birth of our Immaculate Mother Mary, I feel like I’m being born anew and recreated into a new world…the world of God’s amazing love and grace at work in each of your lives!!!  Every person I’ve spoken with bears a trace of Our Heavenly Father’s attentive and personal love for each of you.  We know that God desires only our ultimate happiness.  We are convinced that love is not a ‘what’ but a ‘Who’ and that is the Person of Jesus Christ.

From the beginning, our Father and Founder John Cardinal O’Connor always had a special place in his heart and prayers for you, those who are discerning God’s call to Religious Life.  May His timeless words nourish you as they nourish us, the fruit of his FIAT, his YES to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

“Our charism is the protection, the enhancement of human life.  We live as we believe.  Do we believe sufficiently in the sacredness of human life, to life in community with one another, to accept faults, to recognize our own imperfections and to be able to recognize honestly the imperfections of others and not assume that a recognition of the imperfection of others means that there is something wrong with us.  We are willing to live with one another in community not because they are perfect, but because they are not perfect.  They are in the same situation we are, dependent on Christ and in some mysterious way, perhaps dependent on us for their salvation. We live as we believe.  Do we believe in the sacredness of every human life?

If Christ is not God, if in the womb of Mary His divinity was not united to humanity, if we are not made in His image then our charism is very foolish.  What is human life worth?  Why should we be worried about the unborn?  Why should we be worried about a woman shattered by an abortion, unable to pick up the pieces?  Why should we be worried about the frail elderly, the cancer-ridden, the retarded, all those vulnerable to a contempt for human life in our day?  What difference would it make?  Human beings are sacred not of themselves, but because [they are] made in the image of Christ and united, mysteriously, to His divinity because of His entering into the womb of Mary and assuming our humanity.  What we believe is what we live.  We are fiercely, passionately, committed to the sacredness of human life because we believe in the divinity of Christ.  If Christ were only a man as Arias said, albeit a highly favored man, or even if Christ was a man who was assumed by God our Father as His Son, a man given extraordinary privileges, a man ultimately raised after being a man into divinity, then nothing we would do would be worth it.  We would have no guarantee at all of the worth, the dignity, the sacredness of human life.  Because Christ was both God and man, we are made in His image and not merely in His image as a human being, in His image as the Son of God.

So this we believe, otherwise what would life be worth?  And everything that we do, all the sacrifices that you make, giving up your own families, giving up marriage, giving up children, giving up the world, giving up everything that you give up, would be useless, would be fruitless.  Jesus is the fruit of Mary’s womb because she said, “Yes.”  The fruit of her “yes” is the Christ made man.”

Given by John Cardinal O’Connor at a Discernment Retreat on Jan. 2, 1995