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Posts Tagged ‘Theotokos’

Today we celebrate the feast of the assumption of Mary. This has long been a significant day within Christ’s church. Sometime in the fifth century Byzantine Emperor Mauricius Flavius ordered this holy day to be celebrated on the 15th of August. He also had a basilica built over her tomb. This church was at some point destroyed, and then rebuilt by the crusaders in the 11th century.

What we know about the Blessed Mothers death has been handed down to us from tradition. Officially the Roman Catholic church has never said if Mary died or not. This in itself really has no effect on the celebration or belief of the assumption. It is note worthy that most in the western church do believe she died. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, “after the completion of her earthly life was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

More so it is the understanding that like Enoch and Elijah, that Mary was taken up into heaven. It is important to know that the church never in history or now believed that she did this by her own power. She did not ascend like Jesus into heaven, but assumed by the power of God.

This feast like many feasts of Mary do not point to her holiness. Which she was holy. Mary’s assumption is a reminder of the promises of Jesus. That we the faithful will live in Christ forever. That death cannot hold us. We are again pointed to the cross, and to Jesus who payed the price for our sins. By his death and resurrection we are not only freed from sin, but from death.

So today is a day of celebration. A reminder of the great honor given to our Blessed Mother. A hope for us of what is to come.

It is my prayer that you all will find yourself a bit closer today to our mother Mary, and to her most precious son our Savior Jesus.

For those who are interested here is some scripture that talks about the possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming. It is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: “[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called “paradise,” where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven.

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O, Queen of Heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.
For He whom thou didst merit to
bear, Alleluia,
Hath arisen as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us to God, Alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray
O God, who, through the Resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, Didst vouchsafe to fill the world with joy; grant, we beseech Thee, that, through His Virgin Mother, Mary, We may lay hold on the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos (Mother of God) and Ever Virgin Mary

Today is the day the church celibates the birth of Mary the mother of Jesus. Much debate surrounds the time and origins of this feast day. Some of the most early of writings come from the 6th century by St.Romanus, the great ecclesiastical lyrist of the Greek Church. Later in time was this feast adopted into the Roman Churches calendar. Some debate still exists on the origins of choosing Sept. 8th as the actual date of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s birth.

In my humble opinion it really does not matter what date is chosen. What is important is for us to take time to stop and reflect. For by the birth of Blessed Mary was the start of a series of events that would change the world forever. In her birth God began to move in, among, and around his people. I have added the traditional teachings for this great and holy feast day.

The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary: The Most Holy Virgin Mary was born at a time when people had reached such a degree of moral decay that it seemed altogether impossible to restore them. People often said that God must come into the world to restore faith and not permit the ruin of mankind.

The Son of God chose to take on human nature for the salvation of mankind, and chose as His Mother the All-Pure Virgin Mary, who alone was worthy to give birth to the Source of purity and holiness.

The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary is celebrated by the Church as a day of universal joy. Within the context of the Old and the New Testaments, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was born on this radiant day, having been chosen before the ages by Divine Providence to bring about the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. She is revealed as the Mother of the Savior of the World, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Most Holy Virgin Mary was born in the small city of Galilee, Nazareth. Her parents were Righteous Joachim of the tribe of the Prophet-King David, and Anna from the tribe of the First Priest Aaron. The couple was without child, since St Anna was barren.

Having reached old age, Joachim and Anna did not lose hope in God’s mercy. They had strong faith that for God everything is possible, and that He would be able to overcome the barrenness of Anna even in her old age, as He had once overcame the barrenness of Sarah, spouse of the Patriarch Abraham. Sts Joachim and Anna vowed to dedicate the child which the Lord might give them, to the service of God in the Temple.

Childlessness was considered among the Hebrew nation as a Divine punishment for sin, and therefore the righteous Sts Joachim and Anna had to endure abuse from their own countrymen. On one of the feastdays at the Temple in Jerusalem the elderly Joachim brought his sacrifice to offer to God, but the High Priest would not accept it, considering him to be unworthy since he was childless.

St Joachim in deep grief went into the wilderness, and there he prayed with tears to the Lord for a child. St Anna wept bitterly when she learned what had happened at the Jerusalem Temple. Never once did she complain against the Lord, but rather she prayed to ask God’s mercy on her family.

The Lord fulfilled her petitions when the pious couple had attained to extreme old age and prepared themselves by virtuous life for a sublime calling: to be the parents of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the future Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Archangel Gabriel brought Joachim and Anna the joyous message that their prayers were heard by God, and of them would be born a most blessed daughter Mary, through Whom would come the Salvation of all the World.

The Most Holy Virgin Mary surpassed in purity and virtue not only all mankind, but also the angels. She was manifest as the living Temple of God, so the Church sings in its festal hymns: “the East Gate… bringing Christ into the world for the salvation of our souls” (2nd Stikhera on “Lord, I Have Cried”, Tone 6).

The Nativity of the Theotokos marks the change of the times when the great and comforting promises of God for the salvation of the human race from slavery to the devil are about to be fulfilled. This event has brought to earth the grace of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of Truth, piety, virtue and everlasting life. The Theotokos is revealed to all of us by grace as a merciful Intercessor and Mother, to Whom we have recourse with filial devotion.

Prayer
Father of mercy, give your people help and strength from heaven. The birth of the Virgin Mary’s Son was the dawn of our salvation. May this celebration of her birthday
bring us closer to lasting peace. Grant this though our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Troparion (Tone 4) –

Your Nativity, O Virgin,
Has proclaimed joy to the whole universe!
The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,
Has shone from You, O Theotokos!
By annulling the curse,
He bestowed a blessing.
By destroying death, He has granted us eternal Life.

Kontakion (Tone 4) –

By Your Nativity, O Most Pure Virgin,
Joachim and Anna are freed from barrenness;
Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death.
And we, your people, freed from the guilt of sin, celebrate and sing to you:
The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life!

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On this day we celebrate the Annunciation of our most holy Lady Theotokos and ever virgin Mary. Our benevolent and charitable God, Who always takes care of the human race as an affectionate father, saw that the creature which His hands had made was being tyrannised by the devil. Man was being carried away by the passions of vice and was subject to idolatry. So, God decided to send his only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to redeem us from the devil’s hands. However, He wanted this mystery to remain hidden both from Satan and from the heavenly Powers. This is why he sent Gabriel and with the provision of his oeconomia the holy Virgin Mary was born and kept pure, who was worthy of such a great mystery and universal good. So, the Angel came to the town of Nazareth and told her: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee.” Some other words followed and finally the Virgin said to the Angel: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” Immediately after these words she supernaturally conceived in her immaculate womb the Son and Word of God, His wisdom and power which has substance, with the overshadowing of the Word of God Himself and with the coming of the Holy Spirit upon her. Since then all the mysteries of the Word of God for our salvation and redemption were accomplished according to His oeconomia. – Source Unknown

I struggled greatly on how I was going to write about this great Feast of the church. I thought about talking about the history of the feast. Or exploring the biblical text surrounding the Annunciation. I decided I wanted to share my personal reflection on this great Feast.

For many protestants feasts, celebrations, or veneration for the Blessed Virgin Mary raise great concern. Personally speaking, Marian Teachings (especially the Annunciation) have deepened my faith. Helping me to better understand Gods plan for humanity, and for myself. I see the Theotokos (Mother of God) as a example. The first of many. With her “yes” to God. We follow with our “yes” to God. Being filled with Christ Jesus.

We see a young woman take on the weight of the world. Knowing not the pain, suffering, and hardships she will endure. With Mary we see the writings in Genesis 3:15 being fulfilled. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

With Mary’s “yes” she mystically conceived and carried God Incarnate. Who will become the ultimate atonement for our sins, and the whole of humanity. It is when we unite with Mary and say “Yes” to God we accept his will. In this will like Mary we are unsure of the future. Uniting our sufferings with her and our Lord. Aligning our eyes on the cross and the Grace the poured out of our beloved Savior Christ Jesus. With hope that one day we will be united with our mother in worship of our Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity.

Prayer
Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

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