This reflection appeared in Give Us This Day on 1 January 2013.
The prayers and readings for today’s feast shimmer with light, calling forth for me the fiery images that open Gerard Manley Hopkins’ sublime sonnet God’s Grandeur. I imagine God taking in his hand what has lain apart from time and space, and snapping it crisply like a cloak dusted with snow, shaking free a sparkling shower of light. Fiat lux! Let there be light. A universe emerged from chaos.
Eons grind past, the glories of that first moment fade, tarnished by sin, until Mary’s echo of that first fiat: “Let it be done unto me as you will.” And Light shook forth again, kindled itself within Mary, to be cradled close among us. We named Him Wondrous God, Prince of Peace.
At Easter’s Vigil we sing of a Light undimmed by sharing, even as we often struggle to keep candles lit in spring breezes. Mary let the Light go forth from her, but the flame remained undimmed within her. Just as we hold our hands cupped around our own glimmering share of the Paschal fire, she held her heart cupped around the mystery of God dwelling among us, her reflections keeping the Light aglow, sustaining her through the unremarkable as well as the unbearable.
Fiat lux. Let the light of the Gospel take flame in our hearts, may we learn from Mary how to shelter it with prayer and be warmed by its contemplation. Fiat. Let God’s will be done in us, shaking free a Light undimmed in its sharing.