Fiat mihi. Our parish’s celebration of Midnight Mass is always spiritually uplifting and deeply satisfying. My wife, eldest daughter, and I sing in the choir. We have a lovely repertoire of Christmas carols, hymns, and instrumentals that we offer in honor of the birth of Our Savior, beginning well before Mass, well before many people have arrived. The usual favorites (Silent Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem) are intermingled with pieces reminiscent of older times and places (While By Our Sleeping Flocks, Puer Natus), Southern harmony (Star in the East), and a beautiful Bach cantata (“Break Forth”).The Mass is celebrated with as much pomp as we can muster – lavish incense and candles, several dozen altar boys, a young altar society girl bringing the Christ Child for the blessing of the crèche, Hassler’s Missa Secundam, Victoria’s O Magnum Mysterium. I love it more each year.
In the midst of this celebration, I was struck by how all of this, all of the Church’s wonderful history and traditions, the spiritual strength she has shown through the ages, began from one simple expression. “Fiat mihi, Let it be done to me.” This was how Mary, who was to become and now is, Our Lady, responded to Gabriel’s message inviting her to become the Mother of Jesus. How simple! And, I wondered whether this could be what we really want to embrace as teachers, and what we hope our students take away from their time in our Catholic schools.