Safe to say that I came into the National Gathering with a lot on my mind. I was moving to a new city and starting a new job and all the anxieties that came with change kept my mind occupied. Why was I doing this? Was this really what God wanted for me? Leaving the comforts of my home and family felt crazier and crazier as the distance between Texas and California got smaller. On the first night of our retreat, we had a meditation on the Joyous Mysteries with Father Charles, I did my best to push aside the thoughts that crowded my mind and with a few words, I was brought right back to earth; “May it be done to me according to your word.”

When Mary said yes to the will of the Father, it wasn’t without worry or concern, she asked “How can it be?” but her fiat was a full and free answer. I started to wonder how many times I had questioned God’s will because of my anxieties. How I had let fear and indecision rule in my heart instead of the Lord. I wish I could be more like Mary, who despite her worries was full of grace, full of yes. She had no room in her heart for any other answer, any other possibility than trusting in God’s plan for her life. As we continued to meditate on the life of Christ through Mary’s eyes, I saw in a new way, how as she continued to unite herself to the will of God, the more blessings she received. But all of the hallmark blessings she received were preceded by a time of normal human stress that I could relate to in my own life.

Although I did not go through the same arduous journey as Mary and Joseph when they traveled to Bethlehem, for a short time I understood in a small way, what it was like for them when they arrived and found no room. When I first got offered my new position, one of my greatest concerns was finding a place to stay in one of the most expensive areas in the states. I wanted to be happy about this new adventure I was embarking on, but the joy was hard to find when all I could think of was all the things I still lacked. When life becomes complicated, I often forget how the Lord always provides for those who do His will. And I like to believe that I am doing His will, that I am following the voice I hear in my heart calling me to grow, to step out of my comfort and step into the unknown with trust that the one who calls is there to catch me.

During the Vigil, I stepped up to give my worries to Jesus and to receive His word and from the first chapter of the gospel of Luke, I received “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favor! The Lord is with you.” These words that the angel Gabriel greeted Mary with were also for me during a time where I doubted my choices and decisions. All I need was to look up and see that He is with me, no matter where I go. Throughout the weekend, I was surrounded by love and joy, and family, all reminders that God is with me, that His name, Emmanuel is true and constant, in all circumstances.

Nancy Sangwa Saro (CA)

  1. Thank you Nancy for this moving and well-written testimony. May we all grow in the freedom to fully say yes to the Lord like Mary.

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