If there is anything for certain that I can tell you about the last few years at Franciscan it is that God works in the most unexpected ways. It’s in the smallest of choices that I’ve made that He has worked the most. I would like to tell you about one of those times.
Last spring while scheduling classes in Austria, I realized that I had space to take one elective course. It was slightly overwhelming to choose any course from the wide variety of excellent courses that Franciscan offers each semester. The possibilities were endless. Seeking a little direction, I turned to my peers for advice asking them what classes they would recommend. Upon asking, I received an overwhelming response to take Mariology.
I never really had a deep burning desire to take a theology class about Our Lady, but I wasn’t opposed to it either. Trusting my friends, I signed up to take the class in the Fall.
Give God and inch and He will take you a mile.
Mariology has radically transformed my devotion to, understanding of and love for Our Lady. Yes, I am working towards a good grade, but the class has turned into so much more than that. I could legitimately go on for paragraphs about all of the times I’ve been sitting in class and my mind has been entirely blown by the material presented. However, I would like to share with you my favorite little gem of knowledge that I have learned thus far.
Everyone is fairly familiar with the story of the Wedding at Cana found in Gospel of John, Chapter 2. I want to zero in on the exchange between Jesus and His mother that reads as follows: “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'”
I’ve been familiar with this bible story all of my life, but it never took a grip on the very depths of my heart until we covered it in class. My professor said that often times people see this as an instance where Mary is becoming a little too pushy with Jesus and He has to put her in her place. That’s not it all. Basically, what Jesus is saying to Mary is this: “If I do this miracle and start my public ministry, we will be on the fast track to Calvary. Are you ready for this?” He response of, “Do whatever he tells you,” is a continuation of her “fiat” at the Annunciation. She consents to all of His ministry including the pain and suffering that will be Calvary.
Our Lady consents to having her heart pierced by watching and enduring the suffering of her Son. Why? For us. She knows that He needs to do this for us. Not only do I want to be the kind of woman like her that is able to be blindly obedient to the plans of God, but I want to love so radically that I will sacrifice even the dearest things in my life if I am called to.
What a gift that I can sit in class and not just go through the empty motions of striving for good grades, but to sit there and feed the fire and passion of my heart to be a better woman each and every day. It came from one little decision to take a class, one little “fiat” in my own life, to give the Lord the room He needed to lead me to a deeper love for Him and a newfound perspective on what it means to be a woman.
It is such a huge blessing to attend Franciscan University where the study abroad program has become commonplace among the student body. I would say roughly 85% of the people I know have gone to or are planning to go to Austria. Sometimes I forget how awesome and rare of an opportunity that is. Most other schools do not have a program like ours.