'Those who are sowing in tears shall sing when they reap.'
by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach o.p.
[The sisters of St. Catherine's Cambridge are giving a reflection each week at Vespers on Wednesdays. This week Sr Tamsin reflects on the Our Father as a mini Gospel]
The Our Father, among other things, is a snapshot of the Incarnation, a mini Gospel. Christ, on earth hallows, or ‘glorifies’ the Father: ‘Father, glorify your name’(Jn 12.28); He preaches that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt4.17)and is Himself that Kingdom; He pre-eminently fulfils the Father’s will. He gives us His Body under the appearance of Bread at the last supper, and He suffers for us our temptations, both in the desert, throughout His life and in His Passion and Death, and so delivers us from evil.
I want to focus in upon the ‘fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra.’, in particular on the word ‘fiat’ – let it be, become, be made. On 25th we will celebrate that most celebrated ‘fiat’ of all time, Our Lady’s ‘yes’ to the plan for our redemption. Those of you who have been taught Latin by me will know that I get excited about this word Fiat, (some of you might have been tempted to feel I should get out more!).
But it is exciting: this is the first word God speaks in the Bible: Fiat Lux, let there be light. This is also so in the Hebrew, where there is a kind of resonance between this first divine word and the Holy Name of God which we heard in the reading on Sunday (Exodus 3.14) ‘I Am’. Fiat is our Lady’s response to the angel’s salutation and message: ‘fiat mecum secundum Verbum tuum, let it be with me according to thy word. In another tense it is the word used in the prologue to St John’s Gospel 'et Verbum Caro factum est'- 'and the Word became flesh.' It is the word used in the Our Father, ‘Fiat voluntas Tua sicut in caelo et in terra’ 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'; and it is the word spoken by Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Let it be done. Let it happen. Let it become. Let it be made. We pray daily for God’s will to be done, and often that prayer has the subtext of a certain grimness. ‘God’s will be done,’ we say as we face some inevitable seeming tragedy. We focus more, often, in our praying this prayer on the Gethsemane aspect, the resignation of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross, living out to the fullest extent the full reality of her earlier fiat.
In a way it is right that we do so, following the pattern of Our Lady, suffering at the Crucifixion in her soul the agony she was spared In childbirth in her body, following the pattern of our Saviour who prayed that He might be spared this cup, but also prayed ‘Let not my will but thine be done’, and lived that word right up to the point of death and beyond, through the brutalities and humiliations of His Passion and death, commending His soul into the hands of His Father..
Yet we should notice that in the Our Father, the prayer is not simply ‘Thy Will be done’ or ‘Thy will be done in Heaven, but ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’! Not then finally in agony and pain, not in desolation, but in joy, in freedom and in love, in resurrection, in being, becoming and being made into the image and likeness of God.