Song of Mary

Carlo_Dolci_Mater_dolorosa WMCImagine. 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 Darbingung_im_Tempel_Alessandro_Maganza WMCpromises; 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.

Fiat Mihi

AnnunciationBy Lucia.

“Fiat Mihi” -These words have always rung in my heart when thinking about religious life. Ever since I first thought about becoming a sister in fifth grade when hearing about Mother Teresa, the idea of giving everything God asked for appealed to me. When I was going through the application process with the Dominican Sisters nine years later, the vocation director wrote often to us, “Thank you for your continual ‘yes’ to God”. During the entrance weekend retreat, Mother Prioress encouraged us to give our “yes” to God, even when it was painful to leave family. On the feast of the Annunciation, our novice mistress’ feast day, one of the postulants asked what would be a wonderful thing to meditate on, and Sister told us, “Mary’s ‘yes’ to God”. Every day living the life of a sister, I woke up at 5 AM saying “yes” to the sacrifices that the day brought me in the convent. Looking back on these moments when I said “yes” over the past year and a half, while sometimes it was painful, there was joy, especially when I think of my application process. And yet, when it comes to saying “yes” to coming home from the convent, somehow it is not as easy as the other times.

God has truly blessed me with a family that has been supportive of my religious discernment. During the few days that my family visited and in their weekly letters, my mom would tell me to give my “yes” as Mary did at the foot of the cross. Little did she know that while I did love my life in the convent, there was an inner anguish I was going through as I struggled a lot interiorly while living the life of a sister. When I finally discerned that God was asking me to leave after nine beautiful months in the convent, my novice mistress talked to my parents in a parlor with a huge image of the crucifixion. That image has stuck with me during these past few months.

When you look at an image of Mary at the foot of the cross, you can somewhat understand what she felt at the Crucifixion. Mary, with hands touching the bloody feet of her own Son, who was being killed for our sins, did not fully understand. It must have been so utterly painful for her to look up at her Son suffering in agony, and yet not be able to do anything. And yet, she gave the same “fiat” that she did at the Annunciation, knowing it was all a part of God’s perfect plan. She never doubted, she just trusted in God. She may have seemed totally helpless, and yet her confidence in God gave her more freedom than if she struggled against Him and said no. It is by Mary’s fiat at the foot of the Cross that Jesus was able to show forth His glory, defeating sin and death on the cross.

When coming home, there are many things that one can worry about, such as finishing school, finding a job, or finding a place to live. It can be so easy to become depressed and ask, “Who am I supposed to be?” While it is so easy to get caught up in all these worries and questions, it is a perfect time that God gives to strengthen your faith and really give you freedom. Just like Mary at the foot of the cross, we may not understand, but we can have full confidence and trust that God will provide like He always has. A lot of times, the anxiety and fears that we feel during this time are the enslavements we put on ourselves, thinking that the world needs to be on our shoulders.

Entering the convent, you hope to live there forever in chastity, obedience, and of course poverty. The physical poverty that you experience gives you the freedom to rely completely on God. When coming home, I have found the poverty actually more intense. In the convent, while I was poor in the standards of the world, I at least had the security of my community, knowing where formation would take me. But now, God has taken that away from me. Now, I am even poorer than in the convent, for I do not know at this point which step God wants me to take next or even who God has created me to be in regards to my vocation. There is much uncertainty, and this can make one uneasy.

This is a great opportunity that Our Lord gives us, though, to strengthen our trust in Him. When feeling completely lost on what I am to do next, or who I am supposed to be, I have found that I am truly free when I put all my worries behind me, and just move forward with complete abandon, trusting in God. While I may feel as though I am walking in darkness, I trust that He is leading me by His Light. This is very hard to do, and yet, it brings the most freedom, taking the burdens of planning out your life off your shoulders. God creates each person for a particular purpose, and He is leading you on the path to that joy that only He can give. He is leading you through His own way to being the person He has created you to be. You only need to trust Him.

I cannot say I am perfect at abandonment, but God is giving all of us who have left the convent or seminary an opportunity to experience true freedom, a freedom that you may not have even had while living religious life. This freedom is abandonment amidst the uncertainties, the chance to live completely trusting in God’s providence, even though you do not know your vocation at this point. During this time of uncertainty, a wonderful opportunity given by God to grow in faith and trust, just look at the cross, and place yourself at Mary’s side, praying,

“Mary, you never doubted, you just trusted, please help me to do the same.”

Lucia is a young artist passionate about anything creative. She loves to do portraits, paint with oils, and do charcoal drawings. When not working on canvas, she also expresses her creativity through cake decorating. Family, the Catholic Faith, and the Eucharist are central to her life, and she has a special devotion to Sts. Therese and Philomena.

Who’s the Fairest One of All?

By Misericordia

To all of you who have twin siblings, you and I both understand deeply the concept of sibling rivalry. As an identical twin, my early life was a constant comparison. I loved (and still love!) my twin sister dearly, but I always felt self-conscious. I was never “as good” at things, even though I was the older twin, by eleven whole minutes!

When we were little, my “younger” sister loved pink and all the princesses in every story. However, I decided I was the queen. Why settle for princess when I could control everything (including the princess)? This seemed like a no-brainer to me!

The only problem was that the queen in almost every fairy tale is a villain…so my parents were slightly disturbed when I asked if I could be Maleficent for Halloween. But alas, I had to settle for being an octopus, which no where near resembled my second favorite queen, Ursula.

Eventually, I realized that the possibility of actually becoming a queen was unlikely! But more importantly, the Lord has personally shown me in adulthood that the less control I have over my life and that of others, the more room He has to work, and the more He can reign in my heart. So, as a former Queen-wannabe, I am preparing myself for the courts of the Kingdom of Heaven, where we are promised to be co-heirs with Christ.

Another lesson the Lord has taught me in my journey of Faith is that in addition to having a relationship with the King, I am also meant to have a relationship with the Queen of Heaven – Our Lady. She, however, is very unlike those I wished to emulate as a young child. First of all, she had no power over any earthly territory, not even her very womb, which she surrendered to the care of her Heavenly Father. Secondly, unlike fairy tale queens who succumb to jealousy and fear over losing their identity as the greatest or most fair, Mary at the Annunciation trusts the Lord when presented with the news that she could be both Virgin and Mother. And not only that but the Mother of God! And lastly, through her faith and hope, she was able to reveal to others how to live and love in total service of God and those around her.

Simply put, she knew who she was before God, and that was always enough, despite her material poverty, poverty of will, and the difficult circumstances she faced as a young mother who was not yet married. Her radical trust in God’s Providence and timing in all things was fuelled by the understanding of her identity and knowledge of her belonging to God. And consequently this fuelled her love of others, as she knew more than anyone the Love of God for their souls.

Even though we might know all of this intellectually, we can still feel ourselves distant from her because she is so holy, perfect, and immaculate, and we believe we do not possess any of the same graces. It is as though we see ourselves as a peasant in rags outside of the royal castle. However, her perfection opens the drawbridge for us. Her power was in her Assent to the Will of God, and the constant Fiat she lived in every action, word, and deed, was all for our salvation, that we may be one with her Son and the whole Community of Heaven. Thus, her seemingly untouchable holiness only brings us closer to her and the Blessed Trinity. She sees us approaching from afar and summons the guards to open the gates to us!

Similarly, her call to holiness was not only for her, the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of Angels and of Men, it is for all of us- all angels and men! We are asked to participate with her in the same spirit that she was given, the spirit that dwells in each of our hearts.

So I hate to break it to you, but no, we are not the fairest of them all. But are we searching for this perfection from mirrors, accolades, and the visible “successes” of our life conquests? Not to fear, because we can safely say that Our Lady truly is the fairest one of all! And praise God that we have so great a Mother to intercede for us at the Throne of the Most High God. The Queen of Heaven who watches over us, Sons and Daughters of the King.

Misericordia works for her home diocese, is a caffeine addict, and loves swimming.

What Happened, O Mary, When You Assumed?

By Misericordia.


I hope none of you are scandalized by the title, and if you don’t get the joke reference, then that’s probably good. The Mystery of the Assumption isn’t something we can totally wrap our heads around. We can sort of picture the Sorrowful, Joyful Mysteries, and the Luminous Mysteries to a certain extent, but the Glorious ones seem hard to tap into. And if there are any Mysteries I’d want to experience concretely in myself, it would most likely be them! … But I’ve never witnessed anyone being Assumed into Heaven.


I can’t even tell the difference between images of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, so how can I begin to understand the meaning of these events so far surpassing my comprehension?

The Assumption, by Juan Carreno de Miranda

The Immaculate Conception, by Bartholomé Esteban Murillo









It’s also confusing- Mary was already so intimately united to God, so what changed? Well, I’m not a theologian so I don’t know the answer, but I assume (no pun intended) that for Mary, everything was the same and yet very different.


Although within the context of time, Mary’s life has never been disconnected from the assent, her Fiat, which she uttered at the Annunciation, her Fiat which was the visible and verbal disposition of her soul. Her very being was a manifestation of that Fiat. The rays of her Immaculate Heart depict the glory of the Risen Christ who made His Dwelling within her. So, in a certain sense, her transition from this world to the next was not such a jarring event. She didn’t experience the separation of Body and Soul that occurs for all of us at death, but instead was sweetly carried to the home she always contemplated.


With this frame of mind I feel even further removed from all things Divine, and it’s hard to get excited about this Mystical Event. It is true that the eyes of her soul always look towards Heaven, and that the trajectory of her life was always catapulting towards Heaven. But this arrival was not merely an extension or continuation of her earthly life. It was a fulfillment of promise, a glorification of apparent lowliness, an elevation to universal Motherhood.


I can only imagine a small sliver of the joy of the Heart of Mary when the veil of this life was lifted and she was permitted to gaze upon her God who called her His Beloved Daughter, her Son for whom her heart was pierced, and the Spirit who emitted His rays from her every word, thought, and action. Pondering Psalm 45, our Responsorial Psalm for today, which became my favorite Psalm in Religious Life, helps me see the delight of both Mary and the Lord, the explosion of joy, a never ending finale of divine fireworks. I’m sure the noise of that Heavenly Homecoming party would put all college fraternities to shame. The eschatological Richter scale was off the charts!


When I think of the life of Our Lady I still feel kind of jealous though. I wish I wasn’t stuck with original sin! So not fair! (I feel the inner 4 year old coming out!) But Mary, Our Mother’s Assumption wasn’t for herself alone. Just as her Immaculate Conception was for the salvation of our souls, so was the rest of her life. In her Assumption she offers us her Son, who in turn offers us His promise of Eternal Life, the glorification of our littleness, and the relationship with His and our tender Mother.


We will, God-willing, share her joy in the Heavenly Kingdom prepared not only for her but for us! So I pray that all of us can take this event and use it as an opportunity to open our hearts toward Heaven in imitation of her own, asking Our Lady to help us remember the promise in the midst of darkness, the meaning of apparent meaninglessness, and the protection and perpetual presence of her love that has its origin in the Heart of her Divine Son.

So what happened when Mary assumed? She received the ability to help make a saint out of you and me.