Without Hesitation

By Sr. M. Marcia Vinje

Let us look at the first Joyful Mystery of the Rosary of God’s Instruments that Father Kentenich wrote in the concentration camp in Dachau.

Mother, you speak your Fiat without hesitation
and are allowed to bear the Savior beneath your heart.
As deaconess you silently prepare the sacrificial gift
according to the Father’s will.
Draw us deeply into your mission;
let us be the Redeemer’s deacon.

The Annunciation is one of the richest Scriptural passages about Mary.[1] It reveals to us how lovingly God looked upon this young girl, so much so, that he sent the Angel Gabriel to carry his message of praise: “Hail, full of grace” or an alternate translation, “Rejoice, highly favored one.” Not since Adam and Eve could these words be spoken to a human person. Then the almost frightening proclamation, “The Lord is with you.” Scripture tells us that this greeting troubled Mary.

Bearer of a Great Mission

Of course, it is a joy and consolation to know that the Lord is close by and supporting you, but Mary was aware that when these biblical words are spoken by an angel, it means God had chosen you for a special mission, and one beyond your power to accomplish.[2] She soon learns of her destiny, namely, to become the mother of the Son of God. Wouldn’t we tremble too? However, Mary keeps her wits and asks – not out of doubt but for clarification: How will this happen, for I am a virgin, consecrated to the Lord?

I often think the angel rather sidesteps this question. Gabriel does not give a direct answer but only that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her. Ah, the overshadowing that signals God’s special presence! We find it in the desert of Sinai,[3] leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, or hovering over the ark of the covenant[4] and filling the temple with God’s glory.[5] The implication is that now Mary herself has become that ark and temple, filled with God. She, however, gets the hint that the mystery of her personal mission is too great to explain in words. With all humility she gives her consent: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me as you say.”

It is at this point in the story that Fr. Kentenich begins his meditation:

Mother, you speak your Fiat without hesitation

And are allowed to bear the Savior beneath your heart.[6]

Without Hesitation

What a model for us when we discern God’s will for our life – without hesitation she says her Fiat,[7] her yes. No excuses, no false humility that I am not worthy or I don’t have the talents. If the Father asks this, then a joyful, willing, eager yes. This is only possible in the heart of a person who trusts her God totally, and who has set aside her own plans. This certainly was not on Mary’s radar for her life’s task.

With the ready yes comes the fulfillment of the promise, the Savior is conceived first in her heart and then in her womb. Notice the emphasis that she is allowed to carry the Lord. This was not her choosing in the first place for a place of honor, but she is allowed now to partake in the great act of redemption.

The meditation continues:

As deaconess you silently prepare the sacrificial gift

According to the Father’s will.

Preparer of the Sacrifice

When Fr. Kentenich uses the term “deaconess,” he does not mean one who has received ordination. For him it is a spiritual relationship between Christ, the High Priest, and Mary the Co-Redemptrix. She is at his side to assist Jesus in his priestly ministry. Mary is not merely the mother who gives birth and then fades away into history. Rather, her role as handmaid or personal servant to the Messiah, means that she is intimately connected to the mystery of salvation.

Just as an ordained deacon prepares the bread and wine and then hands them over to the priest to be offered, so Mary prepares the Victim of the eternal sacrifice. She gives Jesus his earthly body which enables him to make atonement for the disruption of the covenant between God and man. Mary gives to her child her own DNA, her blood, her nourishment, her oxygen, in short, everything that a babe receives from his mother in order to live and thrive. And this is the Father’s will.

It is the Father’s will that the Son of God takes on a human nature, becoming in his very Person the unbreakable covenant uniting the human with the divine. It is the Father’s will that a human mother would be chosen as the instrument to receive the incarnation. It is the Father’s will that Mary should stand beside Jesus throughout eternity as the new Eve for the new Adam.[8] Eve was taken from the very body of Adam,[9] and now Jesus comes forth from the body of Mary.

Mary’s role as spiritual deaconess will surface again at the presentation of the Child in the temple[10] when she offers the God-Man to the Father, according to Jewish law. The first born son belongs not to his natural parents, but to God himself. She again brings the sacrifice to be offered. At Cana she is beside her Son as he works his first miracle.[11] In true diaconal service, she makes him aware of the need of his people. On Calvary, she stands beside the altar of the cross[12] to once more freely offer the sacrifice to the High Priest for the greatest sacrifice of all time.

An Example for Us

The final stanzas of the rosary meditation bring our attention to our own role:

Draw us deeply into your mission;

Let us be the Redeemer’s deacon.

Yes, as members of Christ’s Church we too are called to be the servants of the Redeemer. We ask Mary to help us, but also to partner with us as we imitate her role as handmaid. Even more. We share in Mary’s mission. She is our mother and we inherit our spiritual legacy from her.

With her and in her we can speak our small Fiats to the Father’s will.

[1] Luke 1:26-38

[2] See for example, Genesis 31:3; Deuteronomy 20:4; Judges 6:12

[3] Exodus 33:9

[4] Exodus 40:34

[5] Ezekiel 10:4

[6] For the Rosary of God’s Instruments, see Father Joseph Kentenich, Heavenwards, trans. Jonathan Niehaus, American edition 4.0 (Waukesha, Wisconsin: Schoenstatt Fathers, 1992), pp. 91–100.

[7] Latin for “Let it be done.”

[8] I Corinthians 15:45

[9] Genesis 2:21-22

[10] Luke 2:22-38

[11] John 2:1-12

[12] John 19:25