Advent is a time to reflect and to prepare for the birth of Christ. I often think about the role of Mary and how she must have felt when the Angel came to tell her. the good news from God. I recall a quote from Saint Bernard where he refers to her as Maris Stella. “Take away this star of the sun which illuminates the world: where does the day go? Take away Mary, this star of the sea, of the great and boundless sea: what is left but vast obscurity and the shadow of death and deepest hour?”
This is our faith. Indeed, Mary has a special place in union with her Son, Jesus Christ. Graced by God as being the savior of the world’s mother, conceived without sin endowed with divine conception. The Angel came to tell her that God chose her to bring Christ into the world. She obediently responds, yes. This is her “Fiat” This is the Latin word for what in English is “let it be done to me.” This is what Mary says in Luke 1:38, at the end of the Annunciation, in response to the promise that God would overshadow her, and she would conceive God in the flesh.
The Church following the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II sees Mary’s fiat as an example of Christian humility as well as an indication of how she would cooperate with God in bringing about his redemption of humankind. Mary’s fiat then also speaks to us: it calls us to respond in kind to God’s offer, to let Him work within us—and to allow Mary to work with Him in us.
When Mary visits Elizabeth she was filled with the Holy Spirit and the child in her womb jumped with joy. Mary’s fiat became a proclamation to Elizabeth, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked with favor upon his lowly servant and from this day all generations shall call me, Blessed”
Mary goes on a pilgrim of faith opened to all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Like her, we are called to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Mary was blessed with many graces and fulfilled the role of bringing beloved Christ into the world. These blessings bestowed upon her help us to get closer to Christ. It builds upon the pilgrimage of our faith.
In this world that has become chaotic and more secular, we need to take pause and remember to put Christ back into Christmas and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Among all the challenges we are facing today, think about what Mary went through. How did she feel when the angel approached her? When she couldn’t find Christ who was at the Synagogue? When she watched Him carry his own crucifix? When she stood at the foot of the cross? I have to ask myself, am I always standing at the foot of the cross like Mary?
This Christmas, when we hear the Word proclaimed, we can look to Mary and learn from her to keep it and ponder it in our hearts as she did (see Lk 2:19). Out of love for her Father, she welcomed the Word even when she didn't fully understand it. Mary waits for us to go forth like she did and will guide us along our faith journey. Then God can work his victory in our lives. Mary’s fiat has given us hope for the future. Her ‘Yes” serves as an invitation for us to trust God. Her ”Yes” is an act of mercy because giving birth to Christ brings us salvation. More importantly, by her example, we learn to draw closer to God.