Friday, May 6, 2022

F is for Fiat


This week’s F ³ isn’t frisky, frothy, or fun. It hasn’t been that kind of week.

Let me begin by saying that whether or not someone who is pregnant chooses to have an abortion should not for one moment be regulated by laws that claim to be steeped in religion. These decisions belong solely to the pregnant person in consultation with their chosen medical provider. Our country was never meant to be shilling for any particular established religion. That means that what is happening now at the Supreme Court defies the intentions of the Founders, something they claim to care about.

All that being said…

I had a revelation yesterday. I know that I have heard more than one sermon about the significance of Mary saying “yes” to God. Doesn’t the very act of her saying “yes “ mean that the possibility of “no“ existed? The fact that the church highlights and venerates her “yes” seems to me to emphasize the value of consent. 

She could have said no but she didn’t.

Why would any of this story be important if she had no choice?  It wouldn’t. There would be no prayers, no songs, and no sermons about the “yes” of Mary.

Mary had a choice. And that matters. If you have faith in this story at all - - and I’m not suggesting you have to - - it’s clear that the coming of Jesus into the world was not a magic trick. It was not “poof!” with the wave of a wand. No hat, no rabbit, no lightning bolt, even. It involved relationship, communication, and consent. All of this is outlined in the biblical narrative. 

If the tellers of the story saw fit to emphasize relationship, communication, and consent, and the Christian church continued in this vein, surely the importance of Mary saying yes was understood.

This fiat of Mary—“let it be to me”—was decisive, on the human level, for the accomplishment of the divine mystery. There is a complete harmony with the words of the Son, who, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, says to the Father as he comes into the world: “Sacrifices and offering you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me. . . . Lo, I have come to do your will, O God” (Heb. 10:5–7). The mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished when Mary uttered her fiat: “Let it be to me according to your word,” which made possible, as far as it depended upon her in the divine plan, the granting of her Son’s desire.  (Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical on the Blessed Mother, Redemptoris Mater)

Mary said, “Let it be done.” She gave her consent.

To gloss over that in the law while glorifying it at church is hypocritical at best. At its worst it is blaming one’s own personal desire to control the vulnerable on claims of spiritual direction from the Almighty. 

That, my friends, is a grave, grave sin.

It you believe that God made us: bodies and brains and spirits and free will, and if you point to the New Testament story of Mary as holy and redemptive, it f@#$-ing matters that she had a choice. 

The Bible is clear: God gives choices. This Supreme Court, on the other hand, takes them away.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (New International Version)

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