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Everyday Fiats

February 21st, 2012by Steve Feldmann

Lent is a good time to reflect on charity and the divine “fiats” asked of us – even if it’s 5:45 in the morning.

Mary had her fiat moment – her time to say “yes” or “no” to God. When the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and asked whether she would become the Mother of God, she had the choice in that moment to accept or decline.

She, of course, gave her fiat, her “yes,” and the future of man was changed forever into eternity.

We all have these moments – when God presents us with a choice. Do we take this action or that one? Do we make this choice or that choice? Do we help this person or walk away? Each of these decisions, most of which are instantaneous in nature, can forever alter our lives and those of others.

My wife and I had one of these decisions three days before Christmas.

We are the incredibly blessed parents of a 10-year old and an 8-year old. A while back, we decided to open our home to foster children. We discussed it, researched it, prayed about it, and finally went through the certification process. It was a well-thought out and planned decision.

On November 29th, we were officially licensed. Not more than 24 hours later, my wife called me to tell me that they were bringing over a newborn that needed a home. While we can decline any placement, my wife and I had decided that we wanted infants so there was no decision involved here. Of course, we wanted him. Two hours after the call, “Peanut” came to live with us – all of 5 days old and 5 pounds of infectious joy and light.

Then life got interesting.

Three days before Christmas, our phone rang – at 5:45 in the morning. My wife missed the call but saw the caller ID and called back. It was a case manager from Children Services. She had a 4-year old boy who needed an immediate home.

“Yes” or “No?”

Clearing our heads, we looked at each other. We had just gotten Peanut. We didn’t know if we should take on a second child. Our preference was to have infants. A 4-year old would take some faith.

“Yes” or “No?”

In the silence of the morning, we heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit. It was clear, firm and unhesitant.


By sunrise, “Firecracker” became a member of our family, bringing another source of infectious joy and light (and a few challenges) along with him.

We doubled our family in three weeks. In adding a fourth child, our home life has become a good sort of topsy-turvy. We have been blessed.

We don’t know how long they will be with us, but all of our lives have been forever altered. Our hearts filled with an eternal grace.

All because we gave an instantaneous “yes.” We gave our fiat.

As the Church heads into Lent, all of us will be presented with these moments to offer charity and love. Our lives and those of others will be forever altered by our response – by how we answer God’s question to us.

“Yes” or “No?”

Painting: Annunciation by El Greco (1541-1614)

Steve Feldmann

Steve Feldmann is the Director of Agency Advancement for Catholic Charities SouthWestern Ohio. He is married with four children (two of whom are foster sons) and a parishioner of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township.