What is "FIAT" ?
1. An invitation
Much more than an association, "FIAT" is an invitation addressed to every Christian to engage himself or herself in the "yes" of the Virgin Mary to the work of redemption. It is also an invitation to enter the Upper Room with Mary and the Apostles and prayerfully await the gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact it is an invitation to enter into the very mystery of the Church "Sacrament, sign and instrument of intimate communion with God and of unity among all people"(Lumen Gentium 1).
2. The fruit of a meeting
FIAT was born out of a meeting of Bishop Suenens and Veronica O'Brien in 1947. Veronica, after 1940, had taken on as her mission the establishment of the Legion of Mary in France and other European countries. Bishop Suenens, then auxiliary bishop of Malines, contacted her about this project.
In the course of events, Bishop Suenens gathered a small international apostolic group that resonated with the same spiritual vision. This group, focused on prayer and personal engagement at the service of the Church, played a significant role with a number of existing groups and already demonstrated the hopes of the Second Vatican Council.
During a retreat at Paray-le-Monial in 1981 this group felt called to enter into the "Fiat" of the Virgin Mary and discovered, through her, its special vocation at the heart of the Church. At the urging of Veronica the group spent a long time in prayer to discern the will of God.
In 1982 "The FIAT Group" was born rather informally and gained its missionary élan in 1984 with the FIAT rosary.
The Official establishment of the FIAT Association with its juridical statutes came on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16 July 1987.
3. A spirituality
In accordance with the precious heritage received from the founders, the links that unite the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, are particularly stressed in the spirituality of "FIAT".
It is in fact the Holy Spirit and Mary who sent to the world the Son of God, who leads us today to him, Jesus Christ, sent by the Father.
Baptized in Christ we have become sons and daughters of his very same Father and children of the Church.
With filial affection, "FIAT" wishes to love and to serve this Church, the Mystical Body of Christ within which the Holy Spirit dwells and of which Mary is the icon and Mother.
"FIAT"spirituality, therefore is Trinitarian, Marian and ecclesial.
"FIAT" is rooted in the flow of grace that was and remains the grace of Vatican II. The council stressed the significance of baptism in water and the Holy Spirit and the call to universal sanctity. It underlined especially the role of lay people in the mission of the Church through which the proclamation of the Gospel renews the family and social life.
In his apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Pope John Paul II exhorts Christians to "radiate Christ." In his letter of 16 October 2002, The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, he advocates "contemplation of Christ with Mary." Once again we are reminded of the fundamental role of Mary along the path of our union with Christ and the proclamation of the Good News.
All the dynamism of the "Fiat" Association finds its source in the "Fiat" of Mary begun at the Annunciation and carried through the entire life of Jesus right up to the foot of the cross and shared with the Apostles in the Upper Room.
Mary's "Fiat" echoes that of her Son - "Father, your will be done"- and accompanies that of the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This simple "Fiat" is at the foundation of five spiritual pillars upon which the Association is built:
- a life of intense prayer nourished by the Eucharist
- a great union with Jesus and Mary in the tenderness of the Father
- a humble interior openness to the Holy Spirit
- a filial love for the Church
- Evangelical zeal: "The love of Christ urges us on" (2 Cor 5:14).
"FIAT" has not invented something new. It has received everything from the Church and wishes to do apostolate from the heart of the Church.
4. An Evangelical Engagement
The written testimony that most completely reflects the spirituality of "FIAT" is the book by Cardinal Suenens The Christian at the Dawn of a New Era. There one finds a Trinitarian theology, openness to the "Fiat" of Mary and the call to evangelization. The book concludes with a prayer for evangelical engagement.
There we find the invitation to allow ourselves to be evangelized and to be formed interiorly through prayer and the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church so that our entire life becomes a daily testimony to the love of the Lord.
Through the voice of its pastors, the Church exhorts us to move forward in the footsteps of those saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us so that, moved by the Holy Spirit, we will have the courage to present the faith clearly to all those who long and search for the true meaning of their lives. That is to proclaim Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Can our Christian life, however, be complete and authentic without a privileged love for the poorest and an engagement in solidarity with them for peace, justice and conditions for humane, equitable and lasting development? Increasingly our faith helps us to discover ourselves as poor among the poor just as Jesus who identified himself with them (see Matthew 25, 34-40).
The FIAT Association in its own way responds to the call of John Paul II to the youth gathering at St. James of Compostella in 1992 during the World Youth Days: "Let us take the path of Mary, let us engage ourselves with Christ the road of truth and life. Let us become messengers of the Good News and builders of a civilization of love…"