“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”Luke 1:38
Our Will or His Will?
How often do you dream about the day when God reveals His plan for your life? I used to daydream of having some great epiphany. I dreamed up an elaborate scenario of realizing that God wants me to be a missionary, a Catholic writer, a super holy wife and mom, a youth minister, or whatever, and knowing exactly what I need to do follow His call. I muse over someday figuring out what’s going to make me a Saint and courageously pursue that path.
I was preoccupied by seeking a singular, grand moment instead of centering myself on the present.
Let it Be Done
Although we’re in the beautiful season of Advent, I want to take a minute and talk about Lent. It was my junior year of college, and some of my friends and I were embarking on Fiat 40, a retreat for Catholic college girls who want to grow closer to God through detachment and a radical prayer life. A week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, we huddled in a cozy apartment with mugs of tea and Bibles. My girlfriends from Slippery Rock’s Newman Center and the FOCUS missionaries read and prayed with the Annunciation passage. We reflected on Mary’s yes, which was so much more than a yes.
Fiat isn’t Latin for “yes;” it means so much more. Fiat means “let it be done.” I love to say that Mary gave her fiat completely, whole heartedly, and with no reservations. She surrendered to the Lord, giving Him all of herself and everything she had. Having conformed her will with His, Mary accepted God’s will out of her pure and perfect Love for Him. She held nothing back from God, understanding that although she didn’t have all of the answers, God would provide and everything would work out.
Having discovered the beauty and power of saying fiat to God, I began dreaming of how He would call me to say fiat. I obsessed over what my future would be like and the extraordinary plans that He would reveal to me.
Wanting What He Wants
There are so many unique things about Mary, like how she was conceived without original sin and her unlimited amount of grace. Mary was so in tune with God’s will that she conformed her will with His. In other words, Mary always wanted what God wanted. Mary didn’t travel to many countries or write eloquent letters, but she was the closest and most perfect disciple because she said “yes” to God at all times and in all things.
Our Blessed Mother was secure in knowing that God had good and beautiful plans for her life. Mary wasn’t sitting around waiting for an angel to appear to her. She didn’t impatiently wait for a sign that God was calling her to something grand, and she didn’t pursue things that weren’t meant for her. She trusted in the Lord’s perfect timing, staying receptive to God and His will for her. Because of this, she had the capacity to give her fiat at the Annunciation. Because she said “yes” to God in every way of every day of her life, she was able to say the biggest “yes” ever.
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A Rude Awakening
When I made my Marian Consecration almost a year ago, I felt compelled to emulate Mary so that I could love her Son more. In learning more about Mary and longing to be more like her, I realized that I was doing the opposite of what Mary did. I searched for my own will and held on to things that God didn’t want for me.
It wasn’t pleasant to realize that I needed to be more humble and obedient, especially towards God, but it was so good to know that I could grow in these virtues and that I had my Mother as the most perfect example. Like the gentle mother that she is, Mary helped me to open my heart to God’s will. She patiently taught me to be still and receive the goodness that God always pours into us. Instead of searching for what isn’t mine or what I can’t have yet, I became more conscious of the ways that I can do God’s will every day.
Letting Our Mother Guide Us
Mary probably never expected that she would be the Mother of God, but she accepted His will with grace and humility. In contrast, I used to think that I would change the world. I still hope that I’ll be a great Saint, but now I understand that listening to and following God will make me a Saint. If I want to know what my big “V” vocation is or what will lead me to Sainthood, I need to be open to the little things in my daily life that God uses sanctify me. This practice has helped me to understand God’s will for me more clearly.
Especially during Advent, I contemplate Mary’s humility and obedience. I look to her as a model of these virtues and she lovingly grants me the graces to grow in them. My prayer is that during this beautiful liturgical season, we can become more like our Blessed Mother and allow her to help us love her Son more. In doing so, we can give God our daily fiats by recognizing and fulfilling the little things He asks of us each day.
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