Fiat (n.) -- "Let it be"
Today’s gospel came from Luke and it tells the story of Mary’s annunciation. It was when the angel Gabriel came down from heaven to tell Mary that she was going to conceive a child and He is to be called Jesus. Mary responded with this “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” This is Mary’s fiat; her “yes” to God. I’ve heard this story one too many times growing up in the Catholic faith, but this year it hit differently.
Deacon Jo said something very important in today’s homily that I wanted to share with all of you. He said, “We cannot have incarnation without Mary, we cannot talk about advent without mentioning Mary… we need Mary. She is the ultimate model of our faith. This is why, on the 4th Sunday of Advent, the Church has us focus on Mary, precisely so that we may learn from how to prepare and how to relive the mystery and birth of the Son of God”
It was upon hearing this during mass that I realized, had it not been for Mary’s full trust and surrender to God’s plans, NONE of us would be here today. Sounds dramatic, I know, and yet it’s true. Can you imagine if Mary said “I’m not worthy to be the mother of God, can you find someone else?” or “I’ve never had any relations with a man, people will talk about me” OR “I’m sorry, I have other plans for my life, I’m going to be married by this age, have a career set at this age, and a family once I feel like I’m ready to settle down.” Just imagine it for a second… what if Mary said no? She had every reason to say no, yet she said yes. Why is that?
It is because of her great faithfulness and devotion to God that she gave her fiat without hesitation. She didn’t care about what the world had to say because she knew that her reward was in heaven. She knew she was made worthy of the promises of Christ. She knew that God’s plans were greater than her own. Even though Mary did have a moment of questioning, in which she asked how it was possible to conceive a son as a virgin, but the angel reassured her that with God anything is possible. As a person of great faith, that was enough reassurance for Mary to know that this was the God-given purpose that she needed to fulfill.
Mary didn’t say yes to be noticed by others, she didn’t say yes because everything was aligned for her to do so; she said yes because she lived to serve God. This isn’t to say that things got any easier after her fiat, she had to see her own son die on the cross for people who never even cared about him. But she pressed onward, remaining obedient to God.
Something we can all learn from Mary is her humble belief and obedience. She is always submitting to God’s will, trusting in His plans, praying unceasingly, remaining close to His word, and loving deeply. Mary trusted her yes to God and stuck with it to the end by raising Jesus and being by His side until His death on the cross. Mary sets the example for all of us, teaching us how we should respond to God’s call in our lives.
If you were in Mary’s position, how do you think you’d respond? How do you plan to turn your heart and mind more often to God? How can you live out your “yes” to God?