This post is part of the Mary of Nazareth Blog Tour and Rosary Crawl.

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First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk 1:26-27).

“The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal 4:4), the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations” (CCC, 484).

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At one point in my early days as a new mother, trying to decide if I would ever enjoy my coffee hot again after a steaming early morning shower, I thought of Mary.  She had no running water.  I’m betting coffee was an extravagance to her time and place, one that she didn’t have.

Though I hadn’t yet struggled with depression in the way I later would, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  I was supposed to raise this little girl, lead her in God’s ways, be her mother?  Just how was that going to work?

I think I turned to a decade of the rosary out of pure desperation.  I was in the hot shower, and the Annunciation came to mind, so I prayed a decade.

She said Yes.  I had said Yes too, but how could I keep saying Yes to God?  Wasn’t this just too hard?

So much of what Mary has to teach me can be found in the first Joyful Mystery. When the Angel Gabriel came to Mary with the request that she be the Mother of God, she said Yes.

She didn’t hesitate or take a minute to think. What made her stop and ponder was the angel’s greeting, not his request. She asked for clarification–”How can this be, since I have no husband?”–but I can’t blame her for that. It was, after all, a miracle out of all proportion with her experience.

How often do I find myself focusing on the wrong end of things and making it about me when it should be about others? How often do I ask God to give me a sign when I carry within me evidence of his mercy and love?

Being a handmaid isn’t easy, but it’s easier, in many ways, than saying Yes without calculating the price in time, effort, and means. Letting things be done to me, as Mary did in the Annunciation and throughout her life, is a bigger challenge than struggling to control everything around me.

As we pray this decade of the rosary, let’s hold all those brave women who have said yes to difficult and challenging motherhood in our intentions in a special way.

(If you’re not familiar with how to pray the rosary, you can find great resources at Rosary Army.)

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys (contemplating the mystery), Glory be to the Father.

If you’re looking for a movie for the whole family, Mary of Nazareth won’t let you down. I’m so excited that it’s finally on DVD! There’s also a new book, Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures, that’s being released with the DVD. I haven’t received my copy yet, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Tomorrow on the Rosary Crawl, we’ll be praying with Michael Seagriff at Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation.