Reflections on COVID-19 and our Forum theme “FIAT”

By: Aly Tugaoen, Director of Forum

When God decided to create man in his image and likeness here on earth, he didn’t just make one kind of “man.”  He also created woman.  When God needed a vessel free from sin to carry his only begotten Son on earth, he intentionally created our Mother Mary. 

When Moses needed to be saved from death as a baby, it was his mother who placed him in the river, the Pharaoh’s daughter who found him, and a girl (his sister, Miriam) who talked the Pharaoh’s daughter into “getting a Hebrew woman” to nurse the baby, unbeknownst to her that it was Moses’s biological mother. 

Women accompanied Jesus during his time in public ministry, and it was a woman, Mary Magdalene, to whom he first appeared after the resurrection. 

What do all of these women have in common?  They gave their FIAT in each situation.  

Our theme for the 2020 Forum is FIAT, based on the Annunciation. 

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  — Luke 1:38

Mary accepts the invitation from the angel Gabriel to be the mother of Our Lord.  The mother of Moses gave her FIAT to God when she placed her son in a basket on the river.  Miriam said yes to God by making sure she found a way to keep Moses and his mother together. And the Pharaoh’s daughter said yes when she let her heartstrings move her to save Moses, despite the very decree given by her father that all newborn males must die.  Mary Magdalene truly loved and cared for Jesus while he was alive. Her FIAT is recorded in her desire to follow proper protocols and traditions by bringing oils to the tomb, in order to anoint his body once crucified. 

While women are living a more prominent role in the 21st century, the spread of the coronavirus has forced some of us to re-examine the FIAT we give each day.  With stay-at-home orders in effect all over the country and around the world, how we interact with one another has changed. We are unable to attend Mass in our military chapels, we are missing one-on-one time with our priests for reconciliation, and in-person fellowship seems like a thing of the past. 

Dare to Have a Different Life

Actress Jean Stapleton plays the role of Birdie Conrad, a grandmotherly confidant in the movie You’ve Got Mail.  Kathleen Kelly, played by Meg Ryan, has made the decision to close her children’s bookstore and is discussing it with Birdie.  Birdie tells her that closing the store is a brave decision because she is “daring to imagine that you could have a different life.”  That line has always stayed with me.  This pandemic has forced us all to live a different life, whether we wanted to or not; but it also affords us the opportunity to re-examine our FIAT. Have you found more time for prayer?  Have you gotten to know your neighbors better because either they have kids or they live alone and need someone to check on them?  Have you reconnected with lost family and/or friends through social networking or video teleconferencing?  Perhaps you have come to notice a skill or talent in a child not previously seen.  

Give Your Fiat to God

The women of our MCCW community have taken their sewing skills and made masks for donation. Some have organized food drives to continue feeding the homeless.  Some women are creating watch parties for online Mass or cooking demonstrations. Our MCCW Regional Coordinators have been working with chapel presidents to bring our ladies together in prayer on our regional Facebook pages with the Litany of the Saints, various novenas, and guest speakers with whom to interact. All of these are beautiful examples of how our ladies around the world have given their FIAT to serve God and each other wherever they are stationed.  And when this pandemic has ended, we can use what we have learned to live a different life…a better life, having developed a closer relationship with our Savior.

While we wait for the new Forum dates to be finalized this fall, my hope is that you will continue to give your FIAT to God, whatever he is asking of you.  I pray for God’s continued blessings on our military service members and their families, for those affected by the coronavirus and their families, and for those using their God-given talents in the search for a cure.   

Easter Blessings to all!