From the Pastor

 

 

The month of August and early September are characterized as the six weeks of Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. Two events occur during this six week period which cause us to think of the Mother of God, commonly called Theotokos: One falls in August and the other in September.  August fifteenth is her Dormition, her Assumption, her falling asleep in the Lord, all interchangeable terms.  Then on September 8th, we commemorate her birth from Joachim and Anna.  Her birth is one of three in the Church calendar: Our Lord, St. John the Baptist on June 24th and the Theotokos. We do not remember or commemorate any other “Births” in the Church calendar so it is with devotion and prayers we remember her especially during this season. 

            It is an unfortunate reality that we American Orthodox Christians are drifting away from these celebrations and from the person of the Theotokos. During the first fifteen days of August there is a special service, which we offer to her person asking for her intercession and help in our times of distress and to thank her for our times of peace.  And she hears us and will intercede for us with her Son. We know that in other countries the person of the Theotokos is honored and held in high regard. When there are services in her honor, the faithful gather in large numbers to offer their prayers to her. 

            You can witness this during the Lenten Season before Easter; for each Friday of Lent there is the Akathist Hymn dedicated to her and in her honor. These first fifteen days of August we conduct the Paraklesis to her, which is a Service of Prayer and Appeal to her. (See calendar) The sad observation is when these services are held, there is a minimum of persons attending and asking for her help.

            I am not quite sure what it is that has turned off many Orthodox Christians from petitioning the Theotokos to intercede for them. Could it be we are influenced by others who do not hold the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God, but a simple peasant mother? Could it be we are no longer close to her for we underestimate her power to intercede for us? Could it be we are just “lukewarm” in our religious beliefs and pray just so we “feel good”? Maybe our self-reliance, our affluence, our “comfortable pew” pushes aside the notion of relying on God. Thus, we tend to trust our own wits, will and worldly wisdom.

            Being an Orthodox Christian means we live with the promise of being able to be in communion with the Lord; to open the eyes of our heart so we might experience tangibly His presence in our life; to live in Christ as sons and daughters; to take advantage of the opportunities to strengthen our relationship with the Lord and our God, through the intercessory prayers and help of those closest to Him.

            Our taking advantage can lead us to be further enlightened and shaped by the power of intercessory prayer to the Theotokos. Our appeal to her for help can assuredly be of value to us, for, we know from our own experiences, the entreaties of a mother brings good result from her child.

 

 

 

 

 

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