This weekend’s Gospel takes us to the life and choices of a teenage girl. Engaged, and ready for marriage, to the man she wanted to be her husband, all was changed, with an Angel’s visit. “You are to give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus”. She said “Yes”.
The “yes” didn’t fall easily from her lips. First there were questions “How can this be?” Answers were given and a promise that “The Lord is with you”. This seemed to be enough.
During the week, I spent a few days leading a group of Presentation Sisters in some prayer and reflection. Aside from the fact that I had some sense of unworthiness in so doing – since they are most likely far more rooted in prayer than I, it was a very good experience. There were twenty of them in the Community. They aged from mid sixties to one hundred years old. I spoke with the 100 year old and she told me she entered the convent in 1940. She would have been 29. Her sister had entered a few years earlier and her oldest and youngest brothers were priests.
I realised, not for the first time, that I’ve never in my lifetime met a girl who has entered religious life. It’s been nearly ten years since we had an ordination in the Diocese of Achonry. At a recent gathering of our diocese, when asked to break up into groups according to our age, there was only one priest in the room under forty. We have no priest in the diocese below the age of thirty.
The “Yes’s” need to be found …. Questions are welcome but we need a few yes’s.