Thursday, December 9, 2010

12/9/10 - Mary's Fiat

Luke 1:26-38 - Wednesday's Gospel - Mary's Fiat

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you."

29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.

32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,

33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

34 But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"

35 And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

36 And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;

37 for nothing will be impossible for God."

38 Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.


Mary calls herself a handmaid twice in Luke 1. She says it here, and also to Elizabeth at the visitation. A handmaid is a servant who literally stood waiting at the hand of the master, to do his bidding. When called upon, her job was to do whatever the master said. When she was finished, she'd return to the master's side and wait for the next order. Mary's decision to accept this role has been celebrated throughout the ages as her "Fiat," which means "let it be done" in Latin. Mary's fiat, then, is this response:

"May it be done to me according to your word."

Those are the words that changed the world forever. Mary, the Immaculate Conception (ie, full of grace), responded fully and completely to God's call. Those words make me consider how well I respond to God's call.

First -- how "full of grace" am I? How well have I been "feeding" on what Christ has offered -- the Scriptures, prayer, reconciliation, and the Eucharist? Those are the means through which I receive grace. Those are the things which allow me to be "in tune" with God, so that I can even hear His call. Am I remaining in Christ so that I can even hear what I'm asked to do? If so, how do I respond? I'd like to say my answer is always "yes," and I know it has been "yes" several times. But how many times has God called me to do something, and I either missed the call completely, or I said "No"? More than I care to admit.

God’s probably not going to ask any of us to carry His child, but he does ask us to do His work. We too can choose to be His handservants – submit to His authority, do what he says, and be still and wait for the next call. I find that when I'm prepared to do that, and give God my own little "fiat", I am blessed in ways I never would have imagined.