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Jan 02, 2024 302 Kate Taliaferro
Engage

Creating Empty Space

We always tend to fill in our calendars as much as possible but what if an unforeseen opportunity comes knocking?

The New Year gives the impression that we have a blank slate before us. The upcoming year is full of possibilities, and resolutions abound as we rush to fill up our freshly printed calendars. However, it happens that many of those exciting opportunities and elaborate goals for the perfect year fall flat. By the end of January, our smiles are faltering, and old habits from the previous years creep back into our lives.

What if we treated this year, this moment, a little differently? Instead of rushing to fill in all the white space on our calendars, why not give a little more room to blank space, to empty pockets of time where we don’t have anything scheduled? It is in these empty spaces we give the Holy Spirit the most room to work in our lives.

Anyone who has moved from one home to another knows the surprising amount of space an empty room creates. As the furniture moves out, the room seems to continue to grow. Without anything left, it’s always a shock to think that enough space was ever a problem, look how big it is! The more a room is filled with rugs, furniture, wall hangings, and other possessions, the more close the space can feel. Then, someone visits your house with a gift in hand, and you turn and wonder—now, where will we put this?

Our calendars can operate in much the same way. We fill each day with work, practice, games, commitments, prayer service—so many good and often seemingly necessary things. But what happens when the Holy Spirit comes knocking with an opportunity we didn’t foresee? Do we have space for Him on our calendar?

We can look to Mary as an ideal model for how to be open to the Holy Spirit. Mary hears the words of the angel and freely receives them. In offering her life to God, she demonstrates the perfect disposition for receiving God’s gifts. Another way to think about this is with what Bishop Barron has called the ‘Loop of Grace.’

God wishes to give to us with abundance. When we open ourselves to God’s loving generosity, we recognize that everything we have is a gift. With joy, we give back to God in thanksgiving, restarting the loop.

God reaches out to Mary, and she freely offers herself to His Will and purpose. She then receives Jesus. We see this again at the end of Jesus’ life. In utter sorrow and awful pain, Mary lets go of her precious Son. She doesn’t cling to Him as He hangs on the cross. In that painful moment, all seems lost, and her motherhood is emptied. She doesn’t flee, she remains with her Son, who has had to let her go. But then, Jesus gives her not just one son in John but sons and daughters for eternity in her motherhood of the Church. Because Mary remained open and receptive to God’s plan, even when it was the most painful, we now can call her , Our Mother.

As the year continues, perhaps take some time to pray over your schedule. Have you already filled up your days with more than enough, maybe even too much? Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to consider what activities are necessary for His purposes and which are more for your own personal desires and goals. Ask for the courage to reorder your schedule, for the wisdom to say “No” when needed, so you can joyfully and freely say “Yes!” when He comes knocking on your door.

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Kate Taliaferro

Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mom to six beautiful children. She is a homeschooler, blogger, YouTuber, and maker of all the yarn crafts. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and regularly contributes content for Catholic blogs.

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