Do you want to go to heaven, to be a saint? Do you pray for the same for your family, for your loved ones?
Well! Today is your lucky day! After studying scripture, the Catechism, lots of spiritual readings, the lives of many saints, and insightful visits with holy, consecrated souls, I have stumbled upon the answer! I mean the saints—even Jesus Himself—were in on this little truth. Why not us? Ready? Here goes:
Fiat Voluntas Tua, Latin for Thy Will be Done. That is it!
Those are the saving and hope-filled words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before His Passion and death, acquiescing to God the Father in chapter 26 of the Gospel according to Matthew. Those are the same words shared by every saint in heaven both known and unknown.
Saying, Fiat Voluntas Tua / Thy Will be Done, is the same as simply saying, “Yes!” to Jesus. “Yes, Jesus—Your Will, not mine, be done.”
Even St. Mother Teresa gave this guidance. When she was asked, “How do I become a saint?” she affirmed very simply, “Say ‘yes’ to Jesus!”
How can we apply this simple, yet powerful wisdom to our families? How can we “Say yes to Jesus” in our homes?
I’d like to unpack living out or “Fiat” our “Yes to Jesus” in our homes through the following areas:
· Our Personal Fiat
· Fiat in Our Marriage
· Fiat in Our Parenting
What does the word “Fiat” mean?
In its most simple sense, “Fiat” means, “Yes!”
Does our daily fiat really matter? YES!
Let me illustrate:
Quiet your mind and envision a lovely afternoon. The sun is low in the sky, the leaves can be heard blowing through the trees in a warm gust, and suddenly, a brilliant angel appears to a lovely, humble, and fair virgin named Mary. This brilliant angel exclaims, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High!” (Luke 1:30-32)
Confused, Mary responds, “Are you sure you have the right Mary? See, I am betrothed, but not yet living with my beloved. Um, to be found with child, well—that would suggest I have committed adultery! What would the community—my family, what would they think? You know the consequence! I would be stoned to death! So, you see, I don’t think you have the right Mary, and if you do, unfortunately, this won’t work for me.
Wait. Is that right? NO!
Let us go to Luke, chapter 1, verses 37-38: Mary, humbly, with faith and trust, acquiesces – she says, “Yes!” to God.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”
This is Mary’s Fiat. This is her, “Yes” to Jesus. This is what we are called to do in our homes—live our fiat, to say, “Yes!” to Jesus.
That is all fine and well, you protest. Saying, “yes” is simple. But it’s not always easy.
I agree, 100%.
The good news? Jesus encourages us, “My yoke is easy and My burden light.” (Mt 11:30) When we say yes to Jesus, we say yes with Jesus. A yoke is an instrument that connects two animals together to share the load. When we say yes, we are cooperating with Jesus.
How does this relate to us in our home?
Our Personal Fiat
How do we live out our personal Fiat? It all starts with grace.
“How,” you protest, “do I gain access to this grace?”
“Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.”1 More simply, grace is a gift from Jesus to help us say yes to Him—allowing Him to make us saints. And, in the immortal words of Leon Bloy: “The only tragedy in life is not to have become a saint” – and for us, it starts in our home.
“Well then, how do we obtain this gift, this grace,” you continue?
We obtain grace through prayer and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.1
As we are all aware, in our homes, we are called to say yes, ALL.DAY.LONG (and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning). Indeed, we understand the immortal words of St. Mother Teresa, we “…give until it hurts.”
When our children were younger, there were countless moments when I found myself on my knees weeping, begging our Lord, “I cannot do this! It is too hard!”
The demands on us are endless and at times can feel overwhelming. Presently, as we are living amidst unrest and uncertainty, our struggles are even greater, and the demands seem to hurt even more. Can you relate?
Most assuredly, we cannot do this—alone. However, we can do all things in Christ Who is our strength (Phil 4:13). One way we tap into this strength (His grace) is through prayer.
I am sure it sounds overwhelming to add anything to your day, as you likely flop yourself into your beds each night, completely empty and exhausted. Nevertheless, pray we must! Pray for our family, our church, our world.
Begin small. Set your alarm five minutes early and simply pray a Morning Offering. If you can swing a little more time, start each morning with one passage from the Gospels, or find an online resource with the daily readings. We personally use Catholic Company’s daily email called “Morning Offering” which includes an inspiring quote from a great saint, daily readings, saint for the day, and more! Start there.
If you cannot pray in the morning, pray when you are nursing your baby, or during naptime. When our babies were nurslings, my prayer time was 3AM - a beautiful time with baby. Our vocation has times and seasons; we must be able to adapt. Prayer at any time is a source of grace.
If you don’t think you can add prayer, ask God for the grace to make time in your day for prayer. I promise, He desires this time with you. He will make it happen.
So, grace is the key to our fiat and prayer is a channel for this grace. Find time each day to lift your heart to our Lord, that you can do all things through Him, who is your strength.
We also receive the grace needed in our fiat through the sacraments. Whenever possible, we should avail ourselves to the sacraments. The Eucharist and Reconciliation are the most common in our lives presently. I stress, go to Holy Mass when you are able. Do not be discouraged if, because of your duties, you are not able to go to Mass as often as you'd like. As St. Frances of Rome consoled, “A married woman must often leave God on the altar to find Him in her household care.” Jesus is in our children and in our husband. Jesus is in the spills, dishes, homework, laundry, hugs, and yes, even in changing dirty diapers. When we love and serve our family through our vocation, we love and serve Jesus. This is our fiat.
Fiat in Our Marriage
Recall, Holy Matrimony, too, is a sacrament, a source of grace to aid in our fiat.
The Catechism teaches, the “… grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love… help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.’” CCC1641
Further, Christ dwells with us in our marriages, giving us the strength to take up our crosses and so follow him, to rise again after we have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ," and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. CCC1642
Therefore, through our marriage, the sacrament, we receive the grace needed for our fiat.
So, what does this look like, practically speaking?
My confessor put it perfectly. In marriage, each of us brings such different, but complimentary gifts into our home. We, as wives are to respect and honor our husband’s judgment in matters of the head. Our husband, in turn, should respect and honor our judgment in matters of the heart.
God works through our spouse as a channel of grace for us, and we, in turn, are a channel of grace for our husband. Our spouse was hand-picked by God to lead our families to heaven. If God trusts him, we can, too.
So, if we are called to honor and obey our husband as head of our home; who are we ultimately obeying? To whom are we truly giving our fiat?
Our fiat to our husband is our fiat to God.
“…and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church.” Ephesians 5:21-33
I do want to clarify, we are called to live our fiat, to say, “Yes” to our husbands in all things—except sin. As I mentioned, marriage is a sacrament, a channel of grace, and its end is heaven. Living our fiat in our marriage is intended to help each other get to heaven and to help each other, with God’s grace avoid, and God-willing even overcome sin.
An example we can try to emulate is Elisabeth Leseur, a lovely soul whose goodness (with God’s grace) converted her husband from atheist to priest. In her diary she resolved, “To go from the near duty to the far one. To set priorities for my actions: duties to my husband first, then all who belong to us… to my dear husband: tenderness that has not even the merit of duty, constant care to be useful and gracious to him.”
“But, what does this look like for me, in my marriage?” You ask.
This can be accomplished in both small and great ways: by greeting your husband with a smile, complimenting his masculinity, thanking him for his hard work, admiring him in front of your children, serving him first at meals, making his favorite meal from time to time, calling out his good traits in lieu of nit-picking his faults, holding your tongue if his mistake is not sinful, and availing yourself to him, intimately, when able.
Fiat in your marriage is your fiat to Jesus—it’s that simple. And because your marriage is a sacrament, each time you live out your matrimonial promises, you receive the grace needed to continue to live out this fiat.
Fiat in Our Parenting
The Catechism teaches, “The supreme gift of marriage is a human person.” CCC 2378 As my spiritual director correctly put it, “As parents, our God-given role, is the highest calling! We are called to shape character, instill virtues, and affect the world.”3 If our children are going live their fiat in their adult years, we will have to guide their souls into a loving, obedient relationship with Jesus in their formative years. In living our fiat, we guide them into living theirs.
Our first order of business, remembering that the primary sources of grace, the grace needed to live our fiat, is prayer and the sacraments. We need to guide their little souls into a relationship with Jesus through prayer and the sacraments. We know Holy Mass is the highest form or worship, if you are able, this is ideal. If the Lord has you, as St. Frances of Rome suggests, serving Him at home, finding Him in your family, lead them in simple prayer, in your domestic church, receiving the sacraments as often as possible.
When our children were young, we prayed this prayer each morning to help us center our daily activities on love of God:
“Dear Lord, I will work for love you, pray for love of you, and play for love of you.
My whole day will be a loving prayer.”4
If you can start your day with this commitment: all you do is for love of our Good God, our fiat is easier, everything becomes more meaningful, and even the hard things become simple.
In addition, if you are out running errands, stop by an open Catholic church in the area and simply say, “Hi!” to Jesus – pray a Hail Mary together. If you are unable to access the church, the parking lot is still close to Him. This only takes a moment, and it demonstrates how accessible Jesus is to us and that you find it important enough to take this extra time.
Furthermore, Our Lady entreats that we pray the rosary—daily. Holy Heroes has a beautiful, simple set of rosary books to engage your children at a young age to pray, and even enjoy saying the rosary.
Living our personal Fiat starts with grace, and we receive this gift of Jesus, this grace, through prayer and the sacraments.
We are assured, when we turn to Jesus through prayer and the sacraments, though our vocation is demanding, that with Him, His “yoke is easy and My burden light.” (Mt 11:30)
Pray often, love your spouse, and lead your little souls, with God’s grace, back to Him in an eternal family.
So, if you can take away anything from this talk: Our Fiat depends on God’s Grace, and God’s Grace is lavished on us through prayer and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
When we say yes to Jesus, we say yes with Jesus. Fiat Voluntas Tua.
I prayed and will continue to pray for each of you. Please pray for me and my family as well.
Thank you and have a blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas!
In the peace of Christ, and His Blessed Mother,
Kristen & Co.
Suggested Resources & GREAT gift ideas!
· For Mom:
o A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul: A Mother's Rule of Life | Sophia Institute Press
o The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest: Elisabeth Leseur: 9781928832485: Amazon.com: Books
o 33 Days to Morning Glory – A Marian Consecration, if your parish has Formed.org, it’s free! 33 Days to Morning Glory Introduction | The Divine Mercy
o Holy Hour / Visits Jesus in the Tabernacle
· For Children:
· Little Catholic's First Rosary Book: Bead-by-Bead Picture Prayer Book (4-BOOK SET) - Bead-by-Bead Picture Prayer Book Set (holyheroes.com)
· Read-alouds to children:
o Little Nellie of Holy God – inspiring story! Little Nellie of Holy God (holyheroes.com)
o Treasure Box Books – (books 1 – 20) can be purchased individually or all 20: Treasure Box Set: Books 1-20 (holyheroes.com)
o So Many Ways to be Holy: So Many Ways to Be Holy: A Child’s Book about Vocations (holyheroes.com)
o King of the Golden City – to aid in preparation for First Holy Communion: The King of the Golden City (holyheroes.com)
o The Weight of a Mass – Josephine Nobisso - Great to affirm the gift of Holy Mass and First Holy Communion Prep - The Weight of a Mass (holyheroes.com)
Take it to the Queen – Josephine Nobisso – Great to help understand mercy and prep for the sacrament of Reconciliation - Take it to the Queen (holyheroes.com)
o My Confession Handbook, Jr: A Child'S Worry-Free Handbook to the Treasure of the Sacrament of Reconciliation Great for Saints-In-Training, Ages 7 - 10, with the Guidance of Parent or Guardian - My Confession Handbook, Jr.: Soley, Kristen M.: 9781490876641: Amazon.com: Books
o Lives of Saints Books from Mary’s Books: Mary's Books Publishing (marys-books.com)
· Resources for Car / travel:
o Rosary in the car - Complete CD Set: The Holy Rosary - CD Set: The Holy Rosary (holyheroes.com)
o Holy Heroes Glory Stories – entertaining, inspiring, and solid! Glory Stories Complete CD Set (holyheroes.com)
o Stations of the Cross CD or MP3 Download – One sure way to fall in love with Jesus is to meditate on His passion: The Stations of the Cross (holyheroes.com)
1. St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism
2. Jacqueline - https://deeprootsathome.com/dont-read-another-word/
3. Lori Knuth
4. Treasure Box Books