08 December 2022

Her fiat is ours

Solemnity of the I.C.

Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP
St. Albert the Great, Irving

Why are we reading about the Baby Jesus' conception on the S.I.C.? And why aren't we reading about the BVM's I.C.? And what does it have to do with the forgiveness of sin and the salvation of souls? And how does the I.C. help the poor and oppressed? How does it help me grow in holiness??? I'm glad you asked! While the Church has always believed that the BVM was immaculately conceived, it wasn't until 1854 when Pope Pius IX infallibly defined the dogma that we could clearly lay out the full implications of Gabriel's prophetic visit to young Mary. Besides clarifying several important theological issues, the pope's definition allows us to begin thinking of ourselves as “bearers of the Word.” It took nearly a century for this idea to fully mature in the Church, but we can see how every baptized man, woman, and child can model their spiritual life on the motherhood of the BVM. Mary is “full of grace.” God is already with her when Gabriel appears. When charged with bearing and birthing the Word into the world, Mary says, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” How can she so easily submit her will to the will of the Father? B/c the Father is with her; she is filled with His grace. This profusion of God's presence expands to fill past, present, and future, and at every point in creation's history, the BVM is the Mother of God, the Bearer of the Word. Her fiat to Gabriel is my fiat and yours at our baptism; our confirmation, every time we confess our sins; every time we receive the Lord in the Eucharist. We say “amen” but “amen” means fiat – let it be done. If the BVM is capable of surrendering herself entirely to the Father's will b/c she is filled with His grace, then you and I are capable of doing the same. We were not conceived without sin, true; but we were re-conceived immaculately in the waters of baptism. And through our baptism, we are tasked with being “bearers of the Word” to the world. To be living tabernacles of his presence wherever we are and in whatever we do. Like the BVM we are – with His grace – capable of remaining sinless, free from the slavery of death. The BVM is the model of the Church, the Body of Christ, and our personal model for daily holiness. Her I.C. shows us how we too can surrender to God in His grace; conceive His word in our persons; and bear that Word into the world for its salvation. So, when you hear Gabriel speak to Mary, hear him speaking to you as well: “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God...The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” and you will bring Christ the Word to the world. 

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