Do I have to?
Over the last few years in discussions with first time parents, a recurrent phrase has been “I have to”. As in ;“I have to buy a more expensive house/ go back to a paid job after my baby’s birth/send my child to the local school/ continue doing a job which I hate/ go on the Pill (although I would rather not and feel that this is destructive)”
words “have to” are probably those I have most frequently heard when talking to
Catholics who are explaining why the Church’s teaching” doesn’t work for them”.
A young woman who decided not to rethink her life after years of unsuccessful
fertility treatments writes; “If we’d had a baby when we first started trying,
we would still be living in
Yet it is not having a baby that forces many people to continue to live lives with which they are unhappy and which many know in their heart of hearts falls short of the life they could and should be leading. Rather it is a refusal to rethink their lives and a lack of trust in God..
Mary did not have to say no to Gabriel’s message; she could have pointed out to him that she was young and unmarried and likely to be stoned if she were found pregnant. She did not. Instead, she opened up her heart, mind and body to the Holy Spirit and said “Yes I will do what God wants me to do; I know He will make it come right even if I don’t know how!”.
no one has to follow a path which they feel is the wrong one. Like Mary we are
called upon to open our hearts, minds bodies and souls, to ask God what He
wants us to do with our lives and then when we feel we have an answer, to pray
Do you have to buy a more expensive house/ send your child to a nursery/ go on the Pill? No, you don’t.