What are the first words that come out of your mouth each morning as you begin your day? Have you thought about how important that is? What you intentionally say to yourself affects how much you love yourself. And this in turn affects your relationship with Christ and how you pray to Him.
I started intentionally beginning my day with a simple prayer: Mary’s fiat to God’s mission for her on earth (Lk 1:38):
Ecce ancilla Domini (Behold the handmaid of the Lord)
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. (Be it done unto me according to Your word.)
I put it on my mirror to make sure I vocalize this truth everyday. I prefer it in Latin because…well things just sound cooler in Latin.
With these simple words, Our Lady clearly stated two things that defined her: who she is, and why she was created. No way did Mary know at the moment of this proclamation exactly what it meant for her to bear and raise the Savior of the world. The work, trials, joys, and sufferings her heart would feel, especially on the day of the Passion, was still in the distance. All she knew was that the Lord created her for this, and there was no better path for her than the one He had planned from the beginning of time.
The same goes for us.
When the Lord calls us to a deeper relationship with Him, we never understand in an instant what it may mean and how drastically it will change us. But we say our yes because of that tugging in our hearts to unite with His. Every day we are bombarded with stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. The inner self-deprecating voice comes out and tries to convince us that we fail at life and our tiny successes amount to nothing. That we fail at achieving what could be – what “should be”. By repeating Mary’s word, I remind myself at the beginning of each and every day that my value comes merely from being made in the image and likeness of God. And my life is His and not the world’s. Everybody fails – that’s the beauty and calamity of the human race. But as long as we know where we come from and Who loves us, we pick ourselves up and continue to move towards the perfect Love. Because that alone is enough.
“God does well in making us a gift of his comfort and grace; but man does ill by not returning all to God, along with gratitude. That is why the gifts of us grace cannot flow easily through us, because we are ungrateful to him from whom they come” (The Imitation of Christ, 2.10). When we deny our worth instead of using our gifts to bring love to others, we reject God’s love. And my goodness, the core of our feminine beings yearns to nurture, heal, and spread love! Those are our gifts! A woman rooted in Christ and sure of herself can do this intuitively, without ever having to be taught so. But this outpouring of goodness and love can only draw on the knowledge of our inherent value, not in pursuit of it. We don’t need to DO anything to have value. We do these things because of our value.
Mary knew that. That’s why she is “full of grace.” There is a constant flow of grace of God through her – she is not stagnant in her relationship with her Creator. She was (and is!) grateful for the gifts she has been given, and she never hesitates to give it all back to the world. So before I do anything else in my day, I offer up her perfect response, in hopes that as time passes by, I learn to sincerely mean the words I say.
What do you do to remind yourself who you are and what your purpose is?