Today is the feast of the Annunciation, a mystery I contemplate frequently.

Today is also Thursday, which means that while I’m thinking about Mary’s Yes, I’m also thinking about the small successes of my week.

So many of my successes involve when to say Yes.

Yes, I will get you some chocolate milk. Yes, I will vacuum. Yes, we can go outside. Yes, I’ll go to work today and be productive (as much as is possible).

Each Yes, though, involves a No. I hadn’t thought of that until I heard Jeff Young talking about it on episode 64 of the Catholic Foodie.

No, I won’t burn away an hour checking email. No, I won’t get this book finished tonight. No, I can’t make it to the XYZ parish/family/friend function.

Sometimes, I say Yes to others and No to myself. I might be pursuing the greater good, the calling of my vocation, the small voice of conscience.

Other times, my No, while not making sense to others, preserves the good of those people most important to me, keeps me sane, reminds me of my priorities.

I’ve been examining my Yes’s and No’s with more consideration in the last few weeks. I used to be very concerned with how my Yes or No would affect people’s opinion of me, especially those people who I most want to love me or admire me. Though I’ve grown past that, to some extent, there is still a seed of worry in me.

Do I need to justify my choice of what I’m saying Yes to to anyone other than God? Should I explain or just let it stand?

What will they think? Will they be angry?

Mary’s Yes was a courageous stand, an acceptance of what God asked from her. To say Yes to God, she had to say No to a host of other things.

It wasn’t easy. She stands before me, a mentor on my journey toward discerning when to say Yes to God and No to others and myself.

As I begin my preparation for Total Consecration tomorrow, I’m reminded that I’m saying Yes to God (and No to some of the other things I’d like to be doing in that quiet morning time).

There are blessings and graces waiting for me with each Yes I give God. He gives them back, arranged in a lovely bouquet of graces, a hug of blessings, a smile of strength.

Lord, help me to say Yes to You. Help me to embrace Your will as Mary did. Today, as I go about my daily work, may she guide me always back to You.