Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord
March 25, 2020
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel,“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Whenever we want to communicate a total commitment to someone or something, we often say, “I’m all in.” It means I am committed, come what may, and there is no turning back. That is what Mary communicated with her fiat. She did not just say, “I guess so,” or “If you say so.” Fiat is a Latin word meaning “Let it be done.” Her “Yes” meant she was indeed all in. Note the arch-angel Gabriel’s words. He didn’t say, “The Lord will be with you” or “He will if you will.” It was already a reality. He was, he is, and he will always be. He is the great I AM WHO AM. The Lord, too, was already “all in.”
Today as we observe the Solemnity of the Annunciation, we celebrate the great trust that Mary exemplified with her fiat. Her trust did not mean that she had no fear or even confusion. Her confusion was indicated by the words, “How can this be?” She overcame all those feelings and was willing to trust God, body, and soul.
How do we react when something really major is thrust upon us either by a person or by circumstance? We want time to think if that’s possible. We want to weigh out the pros and cons, consider unintended consequences, and maybe plan our contingencies. For Mary, the choice was simple, to do or to not do God’s will. Let us be prepared to give our fiat to his presence, his purpose and his will for our lives forever and for all time.