BY FRANCES BOGGS
Fiat mihi—such a small phrase, and yet it changed the course of the world.  Mary’s two words allowed for Christ to enter into our lives in a very real way. Through this small phrase, Mary opened the door for salvation to enter into the world. With her humble obedience, she became the mother of God and not for her own sake. She did it out of her love for God, a desire to do what He had called her to do—above and beyond what she may have wanted for her life.
This is exactly what I have struggled with all this Lent. And, if I’m being honest, I’ve struggled with this my whole life. Sure, there are certain things I feel called to do, tasks which I have striven to fulfill to the best of my ability. But it’s the little duties that I struggle to hand over in obedience: saying yes to loving my neighbor when they’re annoying me by talking too much, saying yes to being gracious when things do not go my way, saying yes to embracing humility when I do something for my community but don’t receive recognition. Love, grace, and humility may sound like big things to work on, and they certainly are, but they come to fruition through small acts, which build up over time. If I can change my attitude with one small moment, slowly and surely I will be able to hand over bigger things to God.
Lent is the perfect time to practice that obedience. This Lent, I took on a program called Fiat40, which is fitting because I have struggled the most with “letting it be done.” Even having one of my best friends as an accountability partner has not kept me going strong. And it isn’t like I’ve been breaking my fasts. I’ve just been lazy in them—that is, if there was a vague outline, I found the loopholes and let it be more flexible. My goal of increasing daily prayer has leaned heavily on my commitment to attending mass everyday. (If all of mass is a prayer, then I’m getting in 60 minutes, right?) It’s the odd little bending of the rules I set out for myself that has made this Lent feel very unfruitful. Reflecting on that, though, has helped me remember that Lent isn’t supposed to be a list of do’s and don’ts. When I mess up, I shouldn’t feel guilty as if “I’m not good enough”—because I have never been good enough on my own.
This is a time for simply working. Working on obedience. Working on saying yes. Working on letting it be done. For me, that is incredibly hard. I want to decide everything and just tell God this is what I want and this is what will happen. Of course, God wants me to tell Him what I want. But He also knows what is best for me and wants me to trust His plans. So, no matter how unfruitful this season of Lent has felt, I take comfort in two things.
First, that even if I feel like I have not been doing well this Lent, I have still tried. I have been more aware of God working in my life in so many more ways than I usually acknowledge.
Second—and the fact that gives me the greatest joy—is that no matter how poorly I have stuck to my Lenten resolutions, I still get to partake in the Easter celebration. Even though I’ve messed up, Christ has still risen from the grave, and He still went through it all for me, a sinner who has been, is, and will be messing up. I will never be perfect in my obedience to God’s will the way Mary was at the Annunciation. That is okay. God doesn’t require perfection from me. He simply asks that I be ready to say yes and allow His will to be done. So, that is my goal, not only for the remainder of this Lent, but for every day going forward: that I be open to hearing God in my life and following the example of Mary so that I can give my own fiat mihi to God.
Frances Boggs is a 2020 graduate of Ashland University and now teaches World History to sophomores at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
This piece is a part of a syndicated series in collaboration with Yale Logos for Lent 2021. Read more at: https://www.yalelogos.com/lent-2021
 Latin: Let it be done to me. Mary’s response to Gabriel (Lk. 1:38) from the Vulgate is “ecce ancilla Domini: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum” or “Behold I am the slave of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.”
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