Days of Preparation: Week Four/Session One.
Theme: God’s Invitation to Greater Freedom.
Our reading for today: Luke 1: 26-38.
(Mary) was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call His name Jesus…And Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” (Luke 1: 29-31, 38a MsgB)
The Fiat Mihi.
No, I’m not talking about an Italian sports car.
The Fiat Mihi is the Latin term used in the Catholic Church to describe the amazing response of Mary to the angel Gabriel, upon being told that she had been chosen to carry the Son of God in her womb. “Fiat mihi” when translated from Latin to English is “Be it done in me” or, as Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message Bible, “Let it be with me.”
Sadly, they don’t teach Latin in schools now-a-days. It’s called a dead language. But interestingly, in church history, those who understand Latin can often gain a bit of insight, just as those who study the original Greek and Hebrew of the Scriptures. The Latin word “fiat” is a form of the word “to make” or “to do” and in the Vulgate Bible (long used in the Catholic church) the Latin in Luke 1: 38 reads this way…
“ecce ancilla Domini fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum”
Which rendered in English reads as: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word.”
Now watch this. If we turn to Genesis 1, we find this phrase in Latin:
“dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux”
Which rendered in English means: “And God said: Be light made. And light was made.” (Genesis 1:3) This form of words using “fiat” as the action word is repeated in the other accounts of the acts of creation (see Genesis 1:6 & 14).
So indeed, God’s “fiat” was His act of creation, while Mary’s “fiat” was her consent to the Incarnation. Fiat. Let it be.
As I was pondering this phrase, my musical mind wandered back to the 1970’s and the popular tune written by Paul McCartney and recorded by The Beatles.
When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me.
Speaking words of wisdom, “Let it be.”
And in my hour of darkness,
She is standing right in front of me.
Speaking words of wisdom, “Let it be.”
Let it be, let it be,
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer,
Let it be.
According to McCartney, who was asked years later how his classic song, “Let It Be”, came to be, said that his mother, a devout Catholic named Mary who died in the 1950’s, long before The Beatles became world icons, came to him in a dream just during the time The Beatles were breaking up as a band. McCartney was quite troubled during this season of his life and apparently this vivid dream, where his mum came to him speaking words of comfort, eventually evolved into a song that most listeners around the world assumed was speaking of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
As I see it, “Let It Be” or “Fiat Mihi” is a pretty powerful phrase, especially when it is used by a follower of Jesus as a heart-response to the voice of the Lord. Nothing milk-toasty here! Let It Be is not a fatalistic resignation. It’s not…“whatever will be, will be.” Nor is it…“Don’t worry, be happy” or “Hakuna matata.”
Let It Be, when spoken by those responding to God, is no casual statement. Let It Be is a line in the sand; a strong stance of “come hell or high water, I’m committed to what God has planned for me.” Let It Be is saying “Yes” to God’s invitation to fully participate with Him, despite the personal cost or the pain involved.
Could be that Paul McCartney was more right than he ever imagined! Let It Be just might be the wisest words any human being can speak when being asked by our Creator to join with Him in His redemption and re-creation of this broken and battered world in which we live.
My prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Fiat Mihi. May it be done with me just as You say! For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So where is God looking for my Fiat Mihi today? What God-invitation is being extended to me and what obstacles are standing in my way, blocking me from saying the strong words Mary spoke, “Fiat Mihi…may Your will be done in me just as You say?”
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.