Early in one of her pregnancies, my mother learned there was a high risk of complications for both her and her baby. She had miscarried before, and the results of her most recent checkup led the doctor to believe that if she carried the baby to term, he or she would be born with physical or mental disabilities. Devastated by this news, she went to her mother to ask for advice. My grandmother said, simply, “We will love whatever God gives us.” It was a testament of great faith.
In Scripture, we see many similar examples of the great faith of women: two in today’s readings. Hannah prayed to God for a child and was gifted Samuel. Mary sings the Lord’s praises as she says “yes” to bringing the Son of God into the world. Their faith is deep. But there is risk in being faithful to and trusting in God. Hannah must give back her gift, her son, Samuel. Mary says “yes” not knowing how things will turn out, aware of the great risk she takes in being pregnant while betrothed, not knowing how Joseph would react to the news.
Six months after my mother’s doctor delivered his hard news, I was born—fully formed and healthy. Thirty-five years later, I thank God for the faith of my abuela and my mother that gave me life and brought me here today.
Across the ages, the faithful witness of so many women comes with great risk. May the depths of their faith give us courage as we struggle to say our own “yes” to the Lord.