It is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, of “saying Yes to God”. There are so many ways we can give God our “yes”—instead of “not right now”, or “maybe” or “um….” God offers invitations by the second, and with one yes, however small, so much becomes possible. Lady Richeldis said “yes” to building a copy of the Holy House, and the Shrine (through centuries of ups and downs), is there today, nourishing the faith of countless Christians.
Monastic life is a very particular way of saying yes to God. Rooted in our first yes that was our baptismal vows, it is a way of life that develops the expression of these vows specifically in community and in the observance of our monastic vows, for the goal of Christ-likeness and for the sake of the Church and the world. In our contemplative monasticism, it is a yes to being a dwelling for God in one physical place, among the same people, committed to keeping our hearts clear of whatever furnishings do not serve the Yes that is Christ Jesus. Like many long-term commitments, it can make life a long series of Yeses, for above all, a Yes is a choice. Some yeses are incredibly painful and some easy, but in them all are the treasures—hidden, or in plain sight—of invincible peace and joy.
With one yes, however small, so much becomes possible. Neither wealth, nor specific vocations, nor long training is needed. A yes to God, even in the secret of the heart, can open unforeseen doors and bear unimagined fruit. And it will always lead to life.
A young girl long ago, a village nobody, Mary of Nazareth, said Yes to God, and what riches of grace have flooded the world since then. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.