My Beloved the Benevolent August 2023
Grace and peace, Wishing you all goodness and blessings
I am pleased to congratulate you all on the start of the Fast of the Virgin, which begins this year on Monday, August 7th, and ends with our celebration of the Feast of the Virgin on Tuesday, August 22nd. Of course, the naming of the fast after the Virgin, Mother of God does not mean that we fast for the Virgin. Fasting is worshiping, and it is only offered to God; so, we fast for our righteous God and not for the Virgin.
There are two reasons for naming the fast after the Virgin:
- Fasting ends with the revealing of her pure body to the disciples after her departure and assumption into heaven.
2. So that we use the Virgin as an example in our spiritual life and ask for her intercession.
The Virgin Mother of Light, the Mother of God, has a great honor, and we honor her in fulfillment of what the Virgin recalled by the divine revelation, as mentioned in her Praise, “Behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” Luke 1:48 The reason for honoring her is also mentioned by the Virgin in the same Praise, “For He who is mighty had done great things for me, and holy is His name.” Luke 1:49
The Almighty God has done many great things for His saints through generations, but what He has given to the Virgin is a special thing that no other human being has received, which is what the Angel annunciated to the Virgin and she accepted, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God, and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Luke 1:30 “Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1: 38
We honor the Virgin for two main reasons:
1. God chose her to be His mother and took flesh from her for our salvation.
2. She found grace with God because of her holiness, purity, and humility, so that we would call her the Treasure of Virtues.
Therefore, I want to meditate with you on some parts of the Praises, especially the Theotokias, and in particular the Sunday Theotokia, in which we honor the Virgin. I would like to draw your attention to the importance of the Praise and its texts, which like other liturgical texts, expresses our faith because we pray what we believe in; we care about the Praises and its beautiful melodies, and we care more about the theological meanings in the liturgical texts.
+ We believe that Christ alone is The Way when He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6 Therefore, when we pray in the Praises,
“Your glory, O Mary, is higher than heaven…you are more honored than the earth, and its inhabitants.
For you are truly…the real path, leading up to the heavens. (Theotokia Sunday, twelfth part)
By this we do not mean that there are two paths, God forbid. However, the Virgin is called The Way because the Son of God, the Logos, became incarnate from her, because it was not possible for salvation to be accomplished without the incarnation; Christ is the only way to salvation. Also, because salvation is accomplished by the cross, and it was not possible for death to take place on the cross without the Son of God taking a human flesh with a rational soul, subject to death; and this was done through the Virgin. Therefore, the Virgin receives glory higher than heaven and honor from all the inhabitants of the earth and became a source of joy for all humanity and the joy of all prophets. Therefore, we praise her in the eighth part of Theotokia Sunday:
Hail to you Mary: the salvation of our father Adam
Hail to you Mary: the rejoicing of Eve Hail to you Mary: the joy of all generations.
Hail to you Mary, the joy of Abel the just Hail to you Mary: the salvation of Noah.
Hail to you Mary, the grace of Abraham Hail to you Mary: the redemption of Saint Isaac.
+ We ask for the intercession of the Virgin, intercede for us before our Savior to confirm us in the Orthodox faith. And bless us with the forgiveness of our sins to win the mercy of your intercession (Tenth Part)
We pray that God grant us a blessed fast and a happy feast through the intercession of the Virgin, the Mother of Light.
May the Lord bless your gifts to support Santa Verena Charity programs.