This would not be the usual biblical verse that one would expect to hear on Ash Wednesday, but then, the journey of each one is different, the reflection of each, a gift from God.
On this first holy day of Lent 2011, I share the humble musings of my heart.
By the grace of the Holy Spirit, all of these events began with a simple and free ‘fiat’ response spoken by our Mother Mary to the Angel Gabriel and Christ was conceived and born into the world.
‘Fiat’ is a Latin word translating to ‘Let it be done’.
“She uttered her yes ‘in the name of all human nature’”
- St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Irenaeus in the 2nd Century added that, “Being obedient, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race”.
Mother Mary was first to kiss the face of the baby Lord Jesus, the holy face of God.
She mothered, embraced and loved Jesus throughout His growing up years with all her heart, with all her soul.
Such was the joy, we felt when we experienced Christmas, not so many months ago; Jesus coming into the world.
However, little did Mary know the consequences of this obedient ‘fiat’ to God’s Word.
Little did she know that her little cherished lamb, would one day be slained as a sacrifice for the salvation of the world.
“And thy own soul a sword shall pierce...” (Luke 2:35, Douay-Rheims)
Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote in his great book, Life of Christ, “The sword was already coming to Mary before the Cross had come to her Son, for she was already feeling the cutting separation…Jesus grew up as a village carpenter, a maker of wood. The familiar nails and crossbeams in the shop would later on become the instruments of His own torture; and He would Himself be hammered to a tree. One wonders why this long preparation for such a brief ministry of three years.”
Throughout His growing up years, Jesus experienced fully the love of His parents Mary (and Joseph). They probably pampered Him and groomed His spiritual life and in the knowledge of the faith, the scriptures...
By their ever patient loving guidance, His human nature and spiritual maturity grew to perfection.
Mary, eternally faithful, journeyed with her Son right to the end, at the foot of the old rugged wooden Cross.
One can imagine her pain, her tears...seeing the flesh of her flesh being scourged, nailed, pierced...her little boy.
“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19, NAB)
The wood that made the cradle for the baby Jesus, the wood that He grew up and played with would has become the heaviest Cross He would have to carry, the Cross that fell on Him 3 times, the Cross that He would be nailed onto for the redemption of all mankind, the Cross drenched with His Precious Blood.
The sweet embrace of Mary at Christmas has turned into a bitter, painful and bloody one on Good Friday. The tears of joy has become the tears of sorrow.
As the holy season of Lent begins today, let us remember to live out this ‘fiat’ spirituality of Mary in spiritual communion with the Church and in solidarity with all fellow human beings, as being one creation in the image of God.
This Lent, let us more fully accept Jesus in our heart, mind and body, remembering always to share this same salvation and healing with the rest of the world, too.
Let us not doubt but be faithful in the journey, with Jesus as our companion, through all that life has to offer. May this Lenten season give us new strength to persevere till the very end when we will meet our Lord.
This Lent, may we always imitate Jesus’ obedience and cry out, “…still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42, NAB)