My Beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
The month of August is blessed by St. Mary’s fast and her joyous feast. And this year, while we follow what our brethren in Egypt are exposed to and what the church offers of martyrs and confessors, I would like to contemplate on the cross in the life of St. Mary, the Mother of Light.
St. Mary is above the cherubim and the seraphim and all the angelic ranks in her holiness and purity. She is a treasure of virtues and is holiness in its purist image. God chose her to be His mother, the Holy Spirit came upon her and she gave birth to the only begotten Son. He took from her the full nature of man without sin, and she truly became the Theotokos, The Mother of God. The tongue falls short in its ability to talk about the greatness of St. Mary’s honor, the Mother of Light, the entrusted intercessor for mankind.
Despite this great honor and status St. Mary has with God and despite the fact that she truly is the mother of God, her life was not without suffering. She carried the cross behind her beloved Son and offered us an example of enduring pain with patience and thanksgiving. The cross started in the Virgin’s life with the annunciation of the angel proclaiming to her, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” [Lu.1:31] and when the Virgin asked how can this be, since I do not know a man? The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” [Lu.1:34-35] A great grace is given to the Virgin to conceive and give birth to a Son and His name will be called Emanuel which means: “God is with us” [Matt. 1:23] The world was not able to perceive this grace while the believers rejoiced and the generations called the Virgin blessed for this grace. We find that Joseph, at first, did not comprehend this grace that the Virgin received, therefore he became suspicious and the Bible says, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” [Matt. 1:19] God revealed to Joseph, the just man, the mystery and sent to him an angel in a dream who said to him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” [Matt 1:20-21]
Joseph realized the value of this grace, but the Jews did not know and did not understand, and this false charge remained against the immaculate St. Mary the Virgin. The land of Egypt was granted a great blessing from the Holy family’s visit. However, the escape to Egypt was a difficult one for the Virgin Mary to endure. She saw the divine child, the praise of the angels and the Magi’s visit; yet the escape from Herod was a test to her and Joseph’s faith, but they obeyed the angel’s order and endured the difficulty of travel and the escape to a foreign land and the many events that followed in Egypt.
St. Mary would travel from one place to another, following her beloved Son in his blessed ministry. She saw His miracles and heard His divine teachings, but she also saw the opposition of the scribes and Pharisees toward Him and the false accusations that were charged against Him. How painful it was for the compassionate mother to hear and to see this oppression against her and her beloved Son. But isn’t this a confirmation to what Simeon the elder said, “Behold this child destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” [Lu. 2:34] The Virgin followed her beloved Son even to the cross and there under the cross, her Son gave to us the church tradition, her prayer: “When the mother saw the Lamb and shepherd, the Savior of the world, hung on the cross, she said while weeping,”The world rejoices in receiving salvation, while my heart burns as I look at Your crucifixion which You are enduring for the sake of all, my Son and my God.” (Prayer of the Ninth hour).
We ask the Virgin, our Mother – who endured and offered us an example of enduring pains for God’s sake – to intercede on our behalf before her beloved Son to help us in carrying the cross and keep the peace of the Church and His people.
May the Lord bless your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity programs and grant us to do good and help our brethren the needy through the intercession of St. Mary the Virgin.