Editor’s Note: On Day 3 of FMS’ Advent blog series., DCSC volunteer, Madeline McKissick, reflects on Mary’s fiat and how she can aspire to that great act of trust in the Lord.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
I learned the meaning of fiat while I was in college. It was one of those chilly Saturday mornings that I spent surrounded in the warmth of tea, sweaters, scripture, and sisterhood. I prayed Lectio Divina with my girlfriends from the Newman Center and the FOCUS missionaries. In Courtney’s apartment filled with sacred art, we read and prayed with the Annunciation passage and discussed Mary’s “yes.” The girls and I noticed that when Mary accepted God’s plan for her, she didn’t say “yes,” she said fiat, which is Latin for “let it be done.”
A fiat is more powerful than a “yes.” When Mary gave her fiat, she said “yes” to the Lord completely and wholeheartedly with no reservations. From that moment on, I wondered what God would ask of me. I impatiently sought out God’s will for my life and looked for ways to give him my fiat.
Because she is the Immaculate Conception, Mary had no trace of original sin and the grace to never sin. Out of her immense love for God, her free will was always predisposed to know, love, and serve him. Out of all of Jesus’ disciples, Mary was the closest one, not because she converted thousands of souls or wrote several letters, but because in all things, she followed Jesus perfectly and always did God’s will for her. Jesus acknowledges this himself when he says “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28). She didn’t just say fiat during the Annunciation, but at every moment of her life.
I’ve heard of Mary described as the “New Eve,” and I love to ponder what this means. In the garden of Eden, Eve gave in to the serpent’s temptation. She believed the lie that God withheld something good for her. Taking matters into her own hands, Eve grasped for the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. On the other hand, Mary never reached for what wasn’t hers. She knew that the Lord had a good and beautiful plan for her life, and she trusted in his perfect timing. Instead of grasping impatiently for things out of reach, she waited for God to reveal his plans to her.
I learned this truth about Mary a day or two before I made my Marian Consecration. When I discovered that Mary doesn’t grasp, she receives, I took a hard look at my life. I unveiled all of the ways that I have been grasping at things that weren’t mine, either thinking that it was God’s will for me, or knowing that it wasn’t and wanting it anyway. I knew that making my Marian Consecration meant that I would become more like Mary, so I resolved to stop grasping for things out of my reach. I decided to look to Mary as an example of complete trust in God.
Because I’m not preoccupied with searching for things to say “yes” to, I’ve been more conscious of how the Lord has been working in my life. I can recognize his blessings and hear him calling me more clearly. My waiting and stillness aren’t passive or idle. With open hands rather, I receive God’s plan for my life, and with an open heart, I’m free to give my fiat.