Sunday, December 21, 2008

Advent 4: Behold!

The four candles are all now lighted, lighting the path to Christmas, announcing that God is indeed near. Today's gospel tells us of Mary's surrender to the Divine will of God: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your Word."
Imagine the young Mary, surrendered to the Will of God, even when the word of the angel could not make sense in any human terms. "How can this be - I do not know man?" That was Mary's reaction, yet with the same breath, she prayed the ultimate Fiat: "Be it done unto me according to your word." With that the angel left her and the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was made Incarnate within her womb. Imagine!
Mary's Fiat -- that is the depth to which we are called. Yet in our human experience that depth of Fiat is often a lifelong journey comprised of many small yet significant "Yes"es along the way. Blessed Pauline wrote in her Retreat notes (the exact year I don't recall at the moment), "The moment I realize God's will for me I must relinquish everything, even that which I cherish most." Like Mary, Pauline surrendered totally and completely to the Will of God, casting herself into the security of the palm of His hand, trusting that He would bring to completion the good work He had begun, the path which he carved out for her.
Today, as we approach the feast of Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation, the story of Mary's Fiat asks us to contemplate ourselves in the place of Mary and consider the daily Fiats to which God invites us. In the words of a song I composed many years ago, "With Mary, let us say, 'Here I am!'."


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