How the Annunciation Reminds me of Discernment

Revealing His Will
I love to reflect on the Annunciation, when Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the Mother of God. It resonates with me for several reasons, including Mary’s fiat, or her response to the Annunciation, meaning “let it be done.” In this moment, Mary learned of God’s plan for her, and it was life-changing to say the least. In college, I would look forward to the day when God would reveal His plan for my life, hoping that I would learn of it in a blaze of glory. I know now that this won’t be the case, but I still find myself musing over the Annunciation and romanticizing it. I think I do this because I realize that the Annunciation can teach us a lot about discernment.

How the Annunciation Reminds me of Discernment
How the Annunciation Reminds me of Discernment

Growing While We Wait
It goes without saying that none of us are born knowing what we’re going to do with our lives. God doesn’t share His plans with us on day one, and understandably so. We have a lot to learn and we need to grow a lot before we can say “yes” to God’s will for us. Needless to say, Mary had a life before the Annunciation. Born without original sin, Mary always chose God and followed Him perfectly. Mary’s plans for her life probably didn’t include being the Mother of God, but when Gabriel revealed this plan to her, she graciously said “let it be done.”

Like Mary, we won’t immediately know how God will call us to know, love, and serve Him, but this is a good thing. He calls us to use our seasons of waiting well. While we wait and discern, we can learn more about God and fall more in love with Him by strengthening our faith. Saying “yes” to God in little ways, like spending time with Him in prayer, doing acts of penance, and loving the ones He placed in our life will prepare us for the big “yes” that we’ll give Him later. Praying, receiving the Sacraments, and serving will make us more open to God’s will for us so that when the time comes, we’ll be able to say “let it be done.”

Discerning with Openness
Mary is always open to God’s plan for her, and she always seeks to do whatever God wants. As much as we desire this openness, it’s often easier said than done. I remember the days when I radically claimed that I would do whatever God wanted me to do and I would go wherever He wanted me to go. Then when I was discerning missions, I realized that I wasn’t so open to go just anywhere. I recognized that I didn’t want to be too far away from Nathan. I know you’re probably thinking that I turned down mission for a boy, but this turned out to be a good thing. In discerning out of something that would potentially take me far away, I was free to discern marriage with Nathan, which was the vocation that God had planned for me all along. As it turns out, God was asking me to be open to His will in a different way.

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Some Encouragement for Your Discernment
When I was unsure of God’s plan for my life, I would pray and ask for the wisdom and courage to say yes to His will for me. I think that Mary was gently leading me to the path that God forged for me, like the perfect mother that she is. Now that I’m consecrated to Mary, I notice the ways that she leads me towards her Son, and I strive to be more like her. If you’re in the middle of discerning and you’re wondering what God has planned for you, know that you’re not alone. It’s not fun when you’re in the thick of it, but God will journey with you and you’ll make it out with clarity and confidence in Him. Dive into prayer, ask Mary to intercede for you, and know that you’re in my prayers.

Stay radiant!

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Published by madeline_mckissick

Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Madeline spent a year of service in Washington DC before settling on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She and her husband, Nathan strive for holiness and Sainthood by living simply and intentionally with their eyes fixed on God. You can find Madeline wearing cardigans, enjoying a charcuterie board and a glass of wine, playing board games, spending time with her loved ones, and sometimes doing all four at once. Check out and @radiantwjoy on Instagram!

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