There’s a beautiful scene at the end of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. After recovering the lost memories of their rocky relationship, the characters Joel and Clementine remember why they first fell in love–and why they broke up. They face a choice: should they go their separate ways, or should they make a new start–knowing that they will have the same struggles all over again? It’s like a version of the old test–“if you had to do it all over again, would you still marry me?”
I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ve often pondered this question. If I knew what our life would involve–poverty, miscarriage, mental illness, unemployment, unplanned pregnancy, and so on–would I still have married my husband? The answer, of course, is yes–but not necessarily because I’m brave or noble. We were in love, and when you’re in love things like that don’t phase you. No suffering seems too great, as long as the two of you are together. So, even if I knew all the roadblocks we were going to hit, I’d still say yes again; because the force of love disregards such obstacles.
I thought of this the other day as I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries. If Mary knew what was going to happen–if she knew that she would have to watch her son be tortured to death–would she still have said “yes” to the angel’s invitation? And at once I realized, of course she would–not just because she was brave and noble, but because she was in love with God. A woman in love with her husband considers the potential sufferings of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood insignificant compare to the joy of bearing her beloved’s child.
On this feast of the Annunciation, Mother Mary, pray for us to fall in love with God so that, like St. Paul, we can “consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”