Fr. Jirak: Fiat is a response, not a car

Fr. John Jirak talks about Mary’s “fiat” in a video about this year’s stewardship theme. It is available at (File photo)

Father John Jirak says we can thank St. John Paul II for our understanding of Mary as the first disciple, and the meaning of discipleship in the life of a Christian.

The pastor of Church of the Magdalen in Wichita shared those thoughts and others about this year’s stewardship theme, “Fiat,” in a video now available at

Imitate Mary’s discipleship

Father Jirak says the faithful can relate to Mary by imitating her in our own discipleship of following the Lord.
Before sharing details about his thoughts on the theme, he talked about a related incident.

“Someone came up to me and said, ‘What does a car have to do with the stewardship theme?’” Fr. Jirak says. “I didn’t make that connection until I saw a Fiat on the road.”

Fiat, which means “let it be done,” is a deeply theological, spiritual, and scriptural word, he says.

“In the beginning of the Book of Genesis, we hear God made man in his own image. The Latin word there is facere, to make. And then we hear in the Gospel of John that the Word became flesh – factum est – it was made. That’s where the word fiat comes from.”

When Mary encounters the Holy Spirit, she responds in Latin, “let your will be done.”

Fiat means more than yes

The word fiat is different than the word yes, he says.

“When we say yes, it’s as if it’s coming from me, I’m taking the initiative. Fiat has a whole different meaning because it is, in Latin, in the passive voice versus the active voice,” Father Jirak says. “The active voice – this means I’m the subject, I’m acting, it’s coming from me, I’m initiating it, it has the American spirit.”

The passive voice means that the subject is being acted upon, he adds. “And so, what she is saying is, let me be made. Let it be made in me. Let it be done in me.”

Mary’s answer gets to the heart of the Christian life, the heart of discipleship,” Father says, “which is not me making myself…it’s about receptivity.”

Her answer connects the faithful to a deeper reflection on the stewardship way of life in the sense that we recognize and receive God’s gifts, he says.

“And that’s the core conversion, you might say, after baptism, is this deeper and deeper movement from, I create, to I’m being created.”

Fr. Jirak closes the video by saying he is excited about this year’s stewardship theme because it captures exactly “where we’re wanting to go as a disciple, or as a diocese.

“Fiat. It’s not a car. It’s receptivity. It’s a response.”