Imagine. You’ve found the purpose of your being, the meaning of your existence, the reason for living. Then it dies. Literally. This is the suffering of Our Lady. This is the Sorrow of Good Friday that remained when she awoke Saturday morning (if she slept at all), until that glorious Sunday when it was as if life was breathed back again into the world asleep in death.
But the sorrow of Our Lady was not one without gratitude for the “great things” God had done for her, for the gift of the 33 years with Our Lord! She did not cease proclaiming the “greatness of the Lord.”
Nor was this sorrow without the hope of his “promise of mercy… the promise he made to our fathers,” the mercy she recounts in the previous stanzas of her Magnificat.
Today, we are very united to Our Lady, to her sorrows. And yet, this makes us all the more grateful and hopeful of the great gifts and mercies the Lord has and will bestow on us!
It is on this Feast that the Stabat Mater and the Magnificat harmonize in the choirs of Heaven, interwoven by the descant of her Fiat, that first “yes” she proclaimed which gave new life to the world. Let us pray with the sorrows of Our Lady, while also remembering her joyful Magnificat, both extensions of her Fiat.
May we always keep our Fiat as the constant hymn on our lips. May it always be our response in our joys, the “magnificats” in our lives when we can only give gratitude to God, for the “great things” we have received. May it always be our response in the sorrows, the “stabat maters” in life where we are challenged to exercise the virtue of hope in His promises; when our purpose, meaning, and reason for life seem to have been torn from our very hearts, and we are rendered unable to find words to sing praise, except the words of Our Lady, “Let it be done unto me according to thy will,” a prelude to the words of Christ, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” May our thoughts, words, and deeds be a “remix” of their words, a resounding symphony of our own Fiat. May we please the ears of our Father in Heaven, all the Saints and Angels, and especially Our Lady- may they shout “Bravo!” “Encore!” to our “solo,” our unique contribution to the Heavenly Hymn of praise.
“Take, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatever I have or hold Thou has given me; I restore it all to Thee, and surrender it wholly to be governed by Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace, and I am rich enough to ask for nothing more.”
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
On entering a convent, you surrender your life to God. On leaving a convent, even more so, you surrender your will as well. All of your plans, your desires, your hopes, your dreams, your struggles, your perseverance: these now seem completely pointless. You wonder if they meant anything at all.
The truth is: THEY DO!!!
What dearer things to your heart do you have to offer your Beloved than these? Only your will is fully yours; surrender that, and we have given Him everything!
It is hard to imagine that we could be happy while following a path that is different than what we originally wanted. But His path (this “road to Calvary” really), is your path to holiness, to Union with Him, which was the whole purpose of your having entered Religious Life in the first place!
What is Religious Life if not a gradual surrendering of our will in order to become conformed to His, and thus enter into complete union with Him? When He called you out of the convent, He desired to quicken that process. He did not wish to wait any longer to possess you entirely. Therefore, you are still called to this union; you are still called to give yourself entirely to Him; you are still His beloved Bride!
Now you have given Him your memories, understanding, your time, your work, your obedience, poverty, and chastity, your religious family, customs, and life: wait and see what He does with them, because He was the one who had given them to you for a time. You’ve grown, you’ve loved, you’ve surrendered; this is the image of His life on earth.
You are not as far as you think from living in a perfect imitation of Jesus’ life, which is the true “Religious Life.”
One word I must speak to You tonight,
In it is summed up in my heart’s prayer.
In it is my sorrow, joy, desires, love,
Gifts, pleasures, temptations, illness;
Ah, Jesus, everything!
I will not moan or groan at Your Hand,
Only Your will, my Jesus, is my own.
I have nothing to give, I am empty.
So take my whole soul, my yes,