Our Savior and Beloved Theotokos – Preparation before God

20140814_dormition_koimesis_sqIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember the our All-merciful Savior, and our Most Holy Theotokos. May our Lord bless us, and may our Theotokos intercede for us before our Lord!

One of the great feast days, we remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the Most Holy Theotokos, on her dormition (or falling asleep). During this Dormition, we also fast, not just superficially as a diet, but also watching our passions, whether it be greed, anger, and so on, so that we are more ready to listen and yearn for God. It is not a punishment, nor a display for a bargain with God, but to lapse those unnecessary desires aside, so that our being becomes more sensitive to the call of God, and His Will.

While we fast, we reflect upon the Theotokos and her life, on her complete obedience to God, by carrying and caring for our Lord and Christ. She exemplified the faith of a Christian, and serves as a role model, as with many holy apostles and saints as well. Our Theotokos showed us what holy obedience means in the journey of faith towards God, as well as the fruition of allowing this obedience to lay the foundation for Theosis.

Obedience, therefore, is the start to many wonders, and of growing closer to God.

As we read Psalm 119:64-77 (LXX 118), we hear the Psalmist sing the Mercy of God, and heard his cry to God to be taught of God’s laws and ways. The phrase, “teach me Your statues” keeps appearing, for the Psalmist knew that by keeping to God’s laws and ways, one hopes, longs for, loves, and abides in God. And in turn, God abides in him.

And when the common folks doubted God (Exodus 14:10-16), and grilled the Prophet Moses, the people were in turn reminded to keep to the laws of God, for God does not forsake His people. God commanded Moses to bring his people forward, and that God will carry them forward through His wonders. All that was required of the people, was obedience.

We have always seen what God can do, for He is the Creator and the final arbiter of all things, seen and unseen. In St John 5:1-4, we saw our God’s mercy through the healing waters, where all manners of illnesses in many people were healed. God’s power brings healing among His people.

In Hebrews 2:11-18, we see another facet of God’s healing, as we are comforted and encouraged by especially the verse, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Yes, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is our Lord, our All-merciful Savior, and our Brother. He has laid Himself on our grounds, lived among us as one of us, and mercifully, call us His family. For God’s laws and ways are not punishment, but mere tools of love to bring us ever closer to Him, for a reunion with God is what God intends for us, and that we may be comforted with life eternal.

So as we journey through life, while there may be many obstacles we perceive, and trials and pains we brave through, we are asked by God to soldier on, to march forward, just as God’s people were reminded in Egypt, to abide in the laws and ways of God, so that they may receive salvation. There will always be times when we find an urge to lament or complain, and the Psalmist reminds us to seek the laws and ways of God despite all things, and God will not forget or neglect us in the trials of our days. And when we find ourselves succumbing to weaknesses and passions, we are encouraged that Christ our Lord, who called us family and kin, has conquered temptations and has defeated death.

In Him we obey, in Him we yearn, in Him we lean on, and in Him, we abide. And in turn, Christ abides in us.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Exodus 14:10-16
Psalm 119:64-77 (LXX 118)
St John 5:1-4
Hebrews 2:11-18