According to Your Word


In the life of a parish, there are going to be good days and bad days. The good days include sacramental events such as First Communions and Confirmations. Bad days might force us to deal with troubled children, angry parents, or upset pastors.

If we want to celebrate the good things and rise above the negative, the Virgin Mary might be an example for us to pattern ourselves after.

Throughout her life, Mary no doubt repeated the words she said to the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation: “Be it done to me according to your Word.” (Luke 1:38) I’m sure it gave her joy when she reflected on these words as she watched Jesus growing up, performing miracles, and enjoying tender moments with family and friends. I’m also sure these words gave her consolation when things were difficult, like when Jesus was rejected, when people turned away from him, and when he suffered his passion and death. Mary’s words would have also resounded with St. Ignatius Loyola. One of the signature themes of Ignatian spirituality is to “find God in all things.”

In my own life, I’ve often reflected on Mary’s trust. From the moment she heard Gabriel’s words until the moment she knew her son had risen from the dead, Mary trusted that God was working. Of course, this kind of trust is fairly easy when things are going well. Yes, it’s easy to trust in those moments.

But when struggles and difficulties come our way—and anyone in parish life has their fair share of these—it seems like we easily fall into a sense of distrust. Where is God? Why won’t He help me with this problem? How come I can’t seem to hear Him anymore?

Mary knew that God was with her. St. Ignatius knew that too. How can we have that same confidence and trust? Is it a struggle for you to “find God in all things,” or does this phrase bring you a sense of peace?

About Paul Gallagher 18 Articles
Paul Gallagher is an Educational Consultant at Loyola Press. Previously, he was the DRE at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, MD, for over 10 years. Deeply rooted in Ignatian spirituality, Paul blogs about transformation and taking care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit at


  1. Paul, how easily we can grumble or murmur when the going gets tough as the people of Israel did in the desert! You’re right that this is when we need to trust most.

  2. Let’s commit ourselves to putting our words into practice and live by what we pray at times inadvertently… ‘thy will be done’!

    • Jacqueline, thanks for your comment. A few months ago, I was reviewing the Our Father with my 8th grade class, and we were breaking down the lines. One of the boys picked up on “thy will be done,” and maybe for the first time, he realized what he was asking for… It came as a bit of a shock that the focus wasn’t on what he wanted, but rather his acceptance (hopefully) of what God wanted. It’s a powerful thing to really think about these words we often say so fast and don’t even consider their meaning.

  3. I’ve been doing a lot of grumbling this year… even to the point of doubting my decision to come back to the Catholic Church!
    I’m trying, praying, taking a deep breath…

    Great article Joe. Happy New Year, sir.

    • DJ, thanks for your comment, and I’m grateful that you’re trying, praying and taking those deep breaths. I love Pope Francis’ comment that the church is a field hospital for sinners. Despite the Church’s shortcomings, each of its members are called to lead lives of holiness. Being someone who has worked for the church for many years, I’ve found it helpful to take the focus off others and concentrate on myself. How am I answering the call to holiness? How am I doing my part to further the kingdom? These thoughts bring me back to St. Paul’s line in Romans (3:23), “for all have sinned, all fall short”. We could all do well to keep trying, praying and breathing deep. Certainly something to think about in the New Year!

  4. Hi Douglas…grumbling is part and parcel of faith. It’s also your right via baptism! 😉 It’s not a frame of mind we want to stay in, however. Look at the Psalms and how often they begin with “grumbling” but then eventually transition to faith and trust in God. I pray that you continue to find Christ in your journey in the Catholic Church. Blessings.

  5. Great topic and a hopeful message. As Catholics we are so lucky to be able to view our own personal stories through a larger lens, as part of the story of our Salvation, which puts Mary front and center.

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