Hyacinths, revelation and the Word

Blue hyacinths have a special place in Society lore. In the spring of 1882, and wrestling with a possible religious vocation, Janet Erskine Stuart was walking through Regent's Park when, in her own words... and then and there, standing by the side of a bed of blue hyacinths - factum est ad me verbum Domini and I saw it all. Whatever she saw or understood in that moment was confirmed for her soon after, and so, four months later she entered and began her journey with the Society. These hyacinths remained for her - and for those who have received the story - a symbol of revelation and clarity: thus, they - and the idea of "hyacinth moments" - abounded when we celebrated Janet's life at the centenary of her death a few years ago, and blue is the favoured colour for any hyacinths in RSCJ homes.

And so on Christmas Eve, when I noticed that our bulbs were just beginning to peep into flower, I posted this photo on social media, and began to type Our hyacinths are beginning to bloom, just in time to greet Christmas... and then, remembering Janet's words, I added ...and the Word made flesh!

Up until that moment I had somehow ignored the first part of Janet's revelation, focusing instead on the clarity and confirmation of "seeing it all". But now, this day before Christmas, the words suddenly struck me, came to me... factum est ad me verbum Domini... the word of the Lord came to me...

A clergyman's daughter, Janet had grown up knowing her scripture, and so in this key moment it's not surprising that God came to her through the words repeated so many times by Jeremiah, Zechariah and Ezekiel, as a prelude to an account of missioning or of prophesy. The word of the Lord came to me saying... most famously, in Jeremiah 1.5, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you... Was this the "all" that Janet saw so clearly?

But I'm also struck by the fact that although scripture says that the word of the Lord "came", the verb used in the Vulgate is facere - to make or do, to accomplish or become.* This same verb is used in the Gospel of John to say that the Word "became" flesh. And surely, this "becoming" of the Word, this "making" or "accomplishing" of the Word to and into, and deep within us has to be the precondition and the prelude to God's revelation of our purpose and mission in life. The Word of God becomes in us, comes to life in us, and thus becomes the source of whatever insight or vocation he will then breathe into us. May we know - truly know - this to be so.

* My Latin is rusty, so I'm very happy for a classicist and/or biblical scholar to add to my knowledge about this.