It is our mothers who teach us to speak with God in prayer
It is a special privilege of every mother to put the name of God in our lips. They teach us to sign ourselves with the cross, to pray the Our Father and to ask our guardian angel for his protection. It is our mother who teaches us to pray.
Jesus also learned to pray from his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is true that Joseph took him to the synagogue where he memorized the psalms. At home, Jesus learned from Joseph all those blessings the Jews say throughout the day, beginning with praising the Lord after hearing the first cockcrow. He also learned from Joseph to bless the bread and to preside over the Passover Seder — one day he would use that ritual to begin his Last Supper.
Yet, it was from Mary that Jesus learned the most important prayer: the fiat. The life of the Blessed Virgin was surrounded by mystery. The crucial episodes in her life were incomprehensible to her: becoming pregnant before living with her husband, by the power of the Holy Spirit; listening to prophecies about her Son that she could not grasp; anxiously looking for him for days to finally find him impressing the wise scholars, while learning that to her Son, his Father would always come before everything and everyone, even if this meant getting away from her without letting her know. She had to watch him being tried unfairly and dying on a cross — her Son, who was the best child, who helped so many people, who took very seriously his personal relationship with God, his Father. None of this she could understand, so she kept it in her heart as she muttered with absolute trust, “Fiat,” “May it be done according to your will, even if I can’t understand it, even if it can be painful.”
Jesus learned from Mary her fiat and made of it his own prayer. The fiat he learned from his mother was so important to him that he taught it to his disciples: “This is how you are to pray: Our Father … your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)
This prayer is essential to God’s plan. After she listened to the angel’s annunciation, the destiny of the universe relied on Mary’s fiat, on her acceptance to become the mother of the incarnate Word so he could redeem us. She, unable to understand, but fully trusting God, answered the angelic messenger, “Fiat, may it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) But a definitive fiat would still be needed to consummate the plan of salvation, the fiat of the Son of God. At the hardest moment in his earthly life, praying at the Mount of Olives, a few minutes from being arrested to be tried and condemned to death, Jesus asks his Father the unexpected: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me.“ (Luke 22:42) The Son of Man is afraid of dying, in such an agony that he even sweats blood. For an instant, he doesn’t want to carry out his mission. But the prayer Jesus learned from his mother comes to his mind, and overcoming fear, and despite the agony, he tells God, “still, not my will but yours be done. Fiat!“ Fully surrendering himself to his Father’s will, the divine plan of salvation could be completed.
May is the month of Mary and the month of all mothers as well. Let us thank God for our mothers’ lips who placed in ours our very first prayers. And let us ask Mary, our mother, to teach us, like her Son, to always say to God “Fiat, your will be done,” even when we can’t understand it.
Be passionate about our faith!
Read the Spanish version of this story.
Northwest Catholic - May 2017