“Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28).
What would your reaction be if an angel appeared in your living room right now, telling you of the incredible plans God had in store for you? I know that my first reaction would be to wonder if something was wrong with dinner from the night before or if I needed to pour myself a second cup of coffee after too little sleep.
When reflecting upon the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Our Lady at the Annunciation, it’s easy to understand her reaction. Scripture tells us she was “greatly troubled.” In her conversation with the angel, she asked questions to understand the gravity and depth of the message. Despite the road ahead of her that will involve pain and sacrifice, Mary gives her fiat — her total yes to God and his divine plan for her and the entire world.
With her “yes,” Christ enters into the world as a human being, small and hidden in her womb. She’s set on mission, and immediately begins bringing Christ to others. Then in turn, at the cross, Jesus invites all of us to openly receive Our Lady’s role as our mother and the mother of the Church.
Referring to Our Lady as “The New Eve” is one of the most ancient titles of Our Lady in the ancient Church. Rewind all the way back to the original man and woman, Adam and Eve. Scripture tells us of the intimate relationship the Lord had with them in the Garden of Eden. He breathed life into their lungs and created a garden especially for their delight. He burned with an ardent love for their good. Because of that total love, he also gave them the gift of free will — leaving it up to them whether they wanted to participate fully in his divine plan or strike off on a different path, away from his love for them.
Free of shame and the snarls of sin, Eve had the exact same capacity that Our Lady did for an unrestrained, joyful yes to that sacred plan. But instead of surrendering herself in total receptivity and trust to God, Eve listened to the lies whispered in her ear by the devil. Was God really who he said he was, or was he holding something back from them in the garden? Was he truly a good father, or were his promises empty? Instead of total trust in the divine plans in store for her and proclaiming a fiat, Eve operated out of fear.
Just like Mary’s fiat echoes throughout the entirety of salvation history, Eve’s fearful grasping still besieges our hearts as women today. We know the struggle Eve experienced all too well. The temptation to close our hearts to God, to doubt him, and to believe the lies from the devil is recognizable in every one of our stories after the fall.
What lies and fears from the garden are still haunting your heart? What is keeping you from a total fiat, opening yourself up to the grace, love and mission of the Father?
Maybe, within the pages of your story, you have contended with lies about who God is. Have you wondered if God is really good, questioning his love for you, wide-eyed with the fear that he’s holding something back from you?
Perhaps you’ve wrestled against lies about yourself. Have you ever believed the lie straight from the devil that your story is too much? Have you ever wondered if you’re the only one struggling — that when everyone else says they’re ‘fine,’ they truly mean it? Or have you ever believed that you have to prove yourself worthy of love before God notices you and claims you as his daughter?
We may not be in the garden anymore, but the devil is still tempting us. He’s enticing us to find our identity in those lies that he whispers so cunningly.
But Christ comes and sings truth over our story. He is light itself, dispelling all darkness, lies and delusion that the devil has sown in our hearts. He waits for our open and receptive yes to him and the glorious, ridiculous love that he has for each and every one of us.
Just like he invited Mary at the Annunciation, he invites us to bring his life into the world, equipping us to share the Gospel with everyone we encounter.
How can we, with God’s help, overcome the fears that are holding us back from our fiat? Here are a few practical tips.
1. Identify the lies. Calling out the devil’s lies into the light exposes them for what they are. The next time you find yourself wrestling with something that contradicts who God says you are as his beloved daughter, write them down. Take those fears and lies to prayer and ask God to dispel them. Then, make an active decision to reject the lies you’ve written down. Maybe it’s drawing a strong line through each one, or burning the paper in your fireplace.
2. Take little steps to open your heart up to receptivity. Moving from fear to fiat isn’t done in one giant leap. Instead, it’s through daily, simple actions that we reject fear and embrace a fiat with open arms. So what are those small steps for you today? Maybe it’s whispering “Jesus, I trust in you” when you’re tempted to distrust his goodness. Or maybe it’s simply showing up in prayer, even when there are no words you have left to say.
3. Consecrate yourself to Our Lady. Our Lady is an amazing example of open, active receptivity, and she’s our mother! She desires nothing more than to lead you back to her Son’s Sacred Heart. Whether it’s a 33-day consecration or a simple daily prayer, bring your troubles, worries, crosses and concerns to her and consecrate yourself totally to her maternal heart.