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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fiat - An Advent Meditation

I appreciate the efforts of Phlogizo to focus many of his posts on our Faith, and in particular to bring some added texture to various feastdays and solemnities as they come about. In that spirit, I offer the following meditation for Advent, written by the 20th century British mystic Caryll Houselander.* This is excerpted from Houselander's book The Reed of God. I hope you take a moment to read this, and that it helps you, too, come to a deeper understanding of what it means to (to borrow a phrase) trustfully surrender ourselves to Divine Providence.

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To what was [Mary] asked to consent? First of all, to the descent of the Holy Spirit, to surrender her littleness to the Infinite Love, and as a result to become the Mother of Christ.

It was so tremendous, yet so passive. She was not asked to do anything herself, but to let something be done to her. She was not asked to lead a special kind of life, to retire to the temple and live as a nun, to cultivate suitable virtues or claim special privileges.

She was simply to remain in the world, to go forward with her marriage to Joseph, to live the life of an artisan's wife, just what she had planned to do when she had no idea that anything out of the ordinary would ever happen to her. It almost seemed as if God’s becoming man and being born of a woman were ordinary. . . .

Outwardly [Mary's daily life] would not differ from the life she would have led if she had not been chosen to be the Bride of the Spirit and the Mother of God at all!

She was not even asked to live it alone with this God who was her own Being and whose Being was to be hers.

No, He asked for her ordinary life shared with Joseph. She was not to neglect her simple human tenderness, her love for an earthly man, because God was her unborn child. On the contrary, the hands and feet, the heart, the waking, sleeping and eating that were forming Christ were to form Him in service to Joseph.

Yes, it certainly seemed that God wanted to give the world the impression that it is ordinary for Him to be born of a human creature.

Well, that is a fact. God did mean it to be the ordinary thing, for it is His will that

Christ shall be born in every human being's life and not, as a rule, through extraordinary things, but through the ordinary daily life and the human love that people give to one another.

Our Lady said yes. She said yes for us all. . . . Our Lady said yes for the human race.

Each one of us must echo that yes for our own lives.

We are all asked if we will surrender what we are, our humanity, our flesh and blood, to the Holy Spirit and allow Christ to fill the emptiness formed by the particular shape of our life.

The surrender that is asked of us includes complete and absolute trust; it must be like Our Lady's surrender, without condition and without reservation. . . .

What we shall be asked to give is our flesh and blood, our daily life--our thoughts, our service to one another, our affections and loves, our words, our intellect, our waking, working and sleeping, our ordinary human joys and sorrows--to God.

To surrender all that we are, as we are, to the Spirit of Love in order that our lives may bear Christ into the world--that is what we shall be asked.

Our Lady has made this possible. Her fiat was for herself and for us, but if we want

God's will to be completed in us as it is in her, we must echo her fiat.

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* Trivia buffs may be interested to know that Caryll Houselander appeared as a minor charactor in the hit BBC series Reilly: Ace of Spies, starring Sam Neill.

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