When God told Joseph and Mary about the forthcoming birth of Jesus, they could have resisted the news. After all, conceiving a child out of wedlock was a serious matter. But we know they each accepted the noble assignment with tremendous faith and trust. Joseph “did what the angel of the Lord commanded” (Matthew 1:24) and followed through with the wedding. Mary’s response to the news: “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38).
While the world might have seen Joseph and Mary as ordinary people, God saw their hearts and knew their potential. He had already chosen them to accomplish one of the most important missions in humanity: To raise the son of God, the savior of the world.
The examples of Joseph and Mary teach us that God doesn’t choose us according to the world’s measures of success or worth. He sees our hearts. He created our potential. He knows we’re not perfect. But with his grace combined with our trust, we can accomplish more than we could ever imagine—if we say “yes” to his purpose for our lives.
One present-day example of an ordinary person doing extraordinary work in obedience to God is Sr. Irene Clare Duval. In answer to God’s call, she retired from her job as a chemist with City of New York, took her vows as a nun with the Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, and now serves in a remote village in Haiti. Because she said “yes” hundreds of malnourished children are being fed; the unschooled are being educated, and the sick are getting medical help. Most important, people once living in darkness are being warmed by the light of Christ.
Sr. Irene is one of hundreds of ministry partners Cross Catholic supports who, in the world’s eyes, might seem rather insignificant. But through their strong faith and trust in God, they fulfill his significant purpose for own their lives and touch hundreds of others in the process. They live daily the words of Mary, mother of Jesus: “I am the Lord’s servant.”