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  • Writer's pictureFaith Downing

Fiat: drawing near to Mary in infertility

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

by Faith Downing

“Fiat”. It’s a lovely, feminine word which, for so long, primarily brought to my mind the image of Mary’s motherhood. I would picture her face glowing in the bliss of pregnancy, her hands pressed to her womb, so full of divine life. But this beautiful image can be a painful one for those caught in the crossfires of infertility. It can hurt to “go there”, and it becomes all too easy to distance ourselves from that idea of fiat – to box it away with the hope of motherhood, imagining that we might unwrap it one day.

Understandably, we equate fiat with fruitfulness, and infertility with waiting. Yet infertility, as much as fertility, is an opportunity which, when offered, can be responded to with a holy and humble “yes”. And while it might feel as if a “yes” to carrying the cross of infertility in no way resembles Mary’s “yes” to motherhood, examining hers more closely reveals that in fact, fiat within this journey is absolutely a reflection of our Blessed Mother’s.

After all, Mary’s was a

“yes” to the uncertain and the unknown;

“yes” to agonizing heartache;

“yes” to letting go of the dreams she may have had for herself and her family, and of the desire for human affirmation as a form of validation.

It was a “yes” to living out her life and her eternity with the love of a maternal heart, ready to wrap all who cry out to her into the folds of her intercession and care.

It was a “yes” to following Jesus to Calvary, to waiting through Holy Saturday, to believing that the suffering she was living through was not the end, but the beginning.

Mary’s fiat is meant to be echoed by the life of every Christian woman, and uniquely so by the woman bearing the cross of infertility, which, in its day-to-day, is a “yes” to the unknown, the heartache, the surrender, the waiting and still, the call to love all placed in our lives with a maternal love.

Perhaps even more meaningful to us is what comes just before her “yes”. Her surrender to God’s plan for her life begins with the acknowledgement of who she is to Him: “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” I love to imagine this moment as a song rising from the depths of her heart, praising, declaring “I am His.” From this declaration comes the strength to utter the next prayer – the fiat – “let it be done to me according to thy word.” Her bravery is not her own; it is the result of relationship, of understanding the magnitude of belonging to God, of being His daughter.

Sister, fiat in infertility is not only possible, but it is necessary! It calls us out of ourselves, our worries, fear, pain and woundedness and into the place where we recognize the truth about ourselves and declare it.

Chosen. Beloved. His.

Declare this truth, shout it forth in the face of the utter, blasphemous lie that infertility in any way affects our worth, the worth of our marriages, or even our ability to live out the call to maternal love felt so deeply inside of us. Even in the midst of infertility all of this remains so fully intact. It remains yours.

So I encourage you, wherever you are in your journey with infertility, to draw near to our Blessed Mother. Draw close to that moment of her fiat, the first of many; for Mary’s was a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment fiat. A continuous “yes” given from the depths of a pondering heart. Let Mother Mary teach you to recognise that you are God’s beloved daughter. To accept His love. To walk in it confidently and declare it even when you tread in the shadow of the valley of death. And when the cross feels too difficult to carry, go instead to its foot, and sit with Mary. Let her raise your chin upward to see the loving face of Christ locking eyes with yours. In that sweet, longing gaze may you find the truth that can change everything.

“I have called you by name, you are mine.”

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