December 5, 2016 – Fiat

Whew, yesterday’s readings were quite the rollercoaster. Still, I hope you were able to find something insightful in them, especially when we started connecting the idea of producing good fruit with Mary’s acceptance of God’s Will.

The word fiat is Latin for “let it be.” When the angel approached Mary and asked her if she would be the Mother of God, Mary responded “Let it be done unto me according to thy word.” When we refer to Mary’s fiat, we are talking about this whole phrase, attitude and posture of Mary as she submits herself to God’s Will.

We all have the ability to make our own fiats, our own yes’s to God. Every morning we make a choice, consciously or not. We decide and continue deciding throughout the day to do God’s Will or our own. When we choose to think of others first, like offering to make our spouse their breakfast, we are doing God’s Will. When we choose patience over anger when we are stuck in traffic we are doing God’s Will. Is God’s Will for me today to continue holding a grudge against a coworker or friend? Would God want me to take 3 minutes of my afternoon to pray a sign of the cross and reflect on His goodness or spend that time on Facebook? Should I go to bed at a reasonable hour so that I get proper rest to rejuvenate and care for my body or should I stay up too late and suffer the consequences in the morning?

When you break your day down, the majority of these situations are pretty clear what the right choice would be. Practicing following God’s Will in our everyday ordinary helps to train our wills for those times when things aren’t so cut and dry. Is it God’s Will that I pursue a vocation of marriage or priesthood? Is it God’s Will for our family that we adopt? How do I know if this job is where God wants me to be? How do I discern my finances and budget? Am I where God wants me to be right now? How can I possibly bear the weight of this cross (i.e. illness, loss, pain, loneliness, etc.) God is asking me to carry?

Tackling these big questions is difficult, no question and many times there isn’t a clear cut answer. But, if we have built a habit of little fiats in our daily life we will find that these larger questions less imposing. How do you think Mary was able to stand at the foot of the cross? By standing on a life of yes’s to God. We are to follow in her footsteps. When we say yes in our everyday we will find the strength to say yes on the day we receive a new cross to bear or find ourselves facing a complicated decision.

Today, find 3 little moments that you can say “Yes” to God and His Will. Maybe you will refrain from gossipping or petty anger. Perhaps you will deny yourself a second slice of pie because caring for our bodies is part of caring for God’s creation. You might consider the kind of music you listen to and what sort of influence it has over your thoughts and subconscious. You may discover that you already are making these choices, which is great!

3 opportunities to choose God’s Will today. Where will He surprise you?

***What fruits of prayer have you found growing in your life since we started this journey together? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.Daily Graces.


December 4, 2016 -Looking to the Future

Today’s readings present quite a challenge. The First Reading from Isaiah is so nice. Everyone will get along with everyone else, wolves and lions hanging out with lambs and eating hay, babies playing with poisonous snakes, sounds great right? God’s justice will be in full force and will not tolerate wickedness, but overall there is a very happy tone to this reading. Same with the Psalm and the Second Reading from Romans. There is special emphasis that even the Gentiles (non-Jews) will be able to flourish and partake in God’s paradise.

Then we hit the Gospel from Matthew. It starts off with John the Baptist and the phrase we reflected deeply on last week “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Now we get into the second part.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.(Matthew 3:-8)

I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)

Anyone know what a winnowing fan is? Thank you Wikipedia: “Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain.” Ouch! I’m pretty sure I want to be grain, how about you?

All last week we were preparing ourselves for prayer, finding quality times for prayer and exploring a few different kinds of prayer. We closed yesterday considering how we even need to prepare our attitude in order to experience fruitful prayer.

There is more to do. It is not enough to pray, even daily, without connecting it to something. Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees we must produce fruit. That fruit is displayed for us most beautifully in Mary at the Annunciation. It is the fruit of submission and communion.

We will explore this theme all week. For now, today’s prayer is to repeat three times slowly and with great care Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel after he told her God wanted her to be the mother of the Savior:

May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38)

***Thanksgiving has just passed but before we get too carried away in the hype of Christmas we should remind ourselves that being thankful is something for everyday, not just Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for today? How does having a thankful spirit change the way you view your day? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.Daily Graces.


Book Review: Mary’s Way

Book Review: Mary's Way by Daily Graces at kktaliaferro.wordpress.comI am the kind of person who likes to dive right into a book. I fully commit, reading quickly and absorbing the story or purpose in most of my free moments. I enjoy how different authors’ develop their characters or forward their message through the written word.’s latest book Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God by Judy Landrieu Klein was a book that though I enjoyed as a whole, I could not read the way I usually do.

Judy Klein’s life has been tumultuous to put it lightly. Her family has suffered through the pains of death, addiction, debilitating anxiety and many other trials. Klein herself also worked through a series of conversions on her way to Catholicism, coming to terms with extreme feminism and a need for control. Reflecting back on her life, Klein shows the reader how the major events of Mary’s life provide a unique lens for understanding the trials she and her family have walked through.

As each chapter of her life unfolds, Klein explores with the reader how the more she surrendered to God’s will, the more she emulated Mary’s fiat or yes to God’s will at the Annunciation, the deeper her faith grew. It allowed her to grow through her trials, seeing how God can use even the most devastating moments as a channel for grace.

Klein’s ability to impact her readers’ hearts, and especially my own, is through her gift to tell a story gently but not without giving the reader the full weight of what happened. Her stories wrenched my heart in ways that few books ever have. This is not a book to push through, it’s one to cry over, re-read, maybe cry again, and together with Klein see how there truly was light and grace through it all. Klein herself puts it best:

One must stand in the tension between the grief of death and the hope of new life to embrace resurrection’s paradox: it is through death that we find life, by dying that we rise, and only by losing our life that we find it.

If you are struggling with your own fiat, this book is for you. If you aren’t quite sure what it means to surrender your life to God’s will, this book is definitely for you. If you need encouragement as you seek to discover your fiat, this book is absolutely for you. Just make sure you have tissues at the ready.

Daily Graces.