Mary: Hope of All Creation

September 8th
Nativity of Mary, the Mother of God

Nativity of Mary, the Mother of GodIt is the custom now for men, husbands in particular, to assist at the birth of their children.  They share with their wives something awesome and special, a wonderful moment, a miracle which defies description.   At one time of course, this moment belonged only to the Mothers, and the midwives and her female assistants, while the men waited anxiously for the news.

Those who have had the great joy to be present at a birth, liken it to being present in a Temple.   They have spoken about the moment of birth-giving with reverence, in words that might belong to a prayer.  Their account sounds more like a meditation about something profoundly holy, something too special.  They fear, lest saying too much about it, the wonder be lost, as if many words might defile the memory.

A great Philosopher said that the whole end of a thing, is contained in the beginning of the thing, as if by mystery.  Perhaps this is one of the truths we encounter as we witness birth?  All is potential, all is hopeful.  There is so much promise and joy, as we behold the child take their first breath, sense the light of day, enter a new way of living.  A new child is utterly pure, perfect, at peace with all the world, and all the world looks kindly upon the newborn.

For Mary, this is utterly true.  She is totally pure, perfect, at peace with the whole world.  On the day of her birth, she embodies the hope of all creation, and we look lovingly upon this newborn miracle.  It is a moment of hope, and of what potential!   What she is, wonderful as that is, will be made more wonderful by her stainless and all-pure life; her generous 'yes' to God's will; her divine maternity; her own passion and glorification.  If the philosopher is correct, then all that wonder is present here, in this humble beginning, this humble, yet glorious birth.

We who honor the Nativity of the Mother of God, celebrate a momentous day, when a wondrous chain of events was set in motion, which would lead to nothing less than our own Salvation.

Of course, Mary is an image of the whole human race, that is, of you and me.  She was called upon by God, to share in the wondrous work of the salvation of the world, by her holiness, by her purity, by her willingness to say 'yes' to God, offering herself to do God's will.   God took her offering, and made it infinitely glorious.

Let us call upon the Mother of God in prayer, that she might inspire in us a generous spirit.   Let us pray that God might purify us, make us holy, give us courage to say 'YES' to His will in all things, that He might make of our offering, something wonderful, a song of praise to his glory.  Then, will the promise of our own birth be fulfilled.

We stand among all those generations who call Mary, 'blessed'.  Let us rejoice in her holy nativity.  Let us glory in the mystery of God's love for his people.  Let us worship God who saves us through such a wonderful plan, present in hope and mystery at Mary's birth.   Let us give thanks, that simple men like you and me have been chosen to witness this blessed event.  A moment to treasure, a memory to enjoy, an occasion to celebrate, a reason to pray.

Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to the universe;
for from you rose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God.
He took away the curse.
He gave the blessing.
By trampling Death He gave us everlasting life
.

Written by a monk of the Byzantine Church.
Copyright ©1998 http://www.byzcath.org.


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Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Scripture

December 10, 2017
Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Luke 24:12-35 (Gospel 5)
- Liturgy: Ephesians 6:10-17, Luke 17:12-19 (Slavs), Luke 13:10-17 (Greeks)

Twenty-Eighth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: 2 Timothy 2:20-26, Mark 8:11-21
- Tuesday: 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4, Mark 8:22-26
- Wednesday: 2 Timothy 4:9-22, Mark 8:30-34
- Thursday: Titus 1:5-2:1, Mark 9:10-16
- Friday: Titus 1:15-2:10, Mark 9:33-41
- Saturday: Ephesians 1:16-23, Luke 14:1-14

December 17, 2017
Sunday of the Forefathers
Second Sunday Before Christmas
- Matins: Luke 24:36-53 (Gospel 6)
- Liturgy: Colosians 3:4-11, Luke 14:16-24

Twenty-Ninth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: Hebrews 3:5-11, 17-19, Mark 9:42-10
- Tuesday: Hebrews 4:1-13, Mark 10:2-12
- Wednesday: Hebrews 5:11-6:8, Mark 10:11-16
- Thursday: Hebrews 7:1-6, Mark 10:17-27
- Friday: Hebrews 7:18-25, Mark 10:23-32

December 23, 2017
Saturday Before Christmas
- Galatians 3:8-12, Luke 13:18-29

December 24, 2017
Sunday Before Christmas
Sunday of the Holy Fathers
- Matins: John 20:1-10 (Gospel 7)
- Liturgy: Galatians 3:8-12
- Matthew 1:1-25

Christmas Eve
- First Royal Hour: Micah 5:2-4, Hebrews 1:1-12, Matthew 1:18-25
- Third Royal Hour: Baruch 3:36-4:4, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 2:1-20
- Sixth Royal Hour: Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:14; 8:8-10, Hebrews 1:10-2:3, Matthew 2:1-12
- Ninth Royal Hour: Isaiah 9:6,7, Hebrews 2:11-18, Matthew 2:13-23
- Vespers: 1) Genesis 1:1-13, 2) Numbers 24:2, 3 ; 5-9, 17, 18, 3) Micah 4:6, 7; 5:2-4, 4) Isaiah 11:1-10, 5) Baruch 3:36-4:4, 6) Daniel 2:31-36, 44, 45, 7) Isaiah 9:6, 7, 8) Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 8-10
- Liturgy: Hebrews 1:1-12, Luke 2:1-20

December 25, 2017
Christmas
- Matins: 1:18-25
- Liturgy: Galatians 4:4-7, Matthew 2:1-12

December 26,2017
Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God
- Hebrews 2:11-18, Matthew 2:13-23

December 27, 2017
First-Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen
- Acts 6;8-15, 7:1-7, 47-60, Matthew 21:33-42, Hebrews 10:1-18, Mark 11:23-26

December 28, 2017
Twenty Thousand Martyrs of Nicomeida
- Hebrews 10:35-11:7, Mark 11:27-33

December 29. 2017
Holy Innocents
- Hebrews 11:8,11-16, Mark 12:1-12

Saturday After Christmas
- 1 Timothy 6:11-16, Matthew 12:15-21

December 31, 2017
Sunday after Christmas: Commemoration of the Holy Righteous David the King, Joseph the Betrothed, and James the Brother of the Lord
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: Galatians 1:11-19, Matthew 2:13-23

Feasts & Fasts

December
6 - St Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
9 (8) - The Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God by the Righteous Anna
12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe
17 - Second Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Forefathers)
24 - Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Fathers) / Christmas Eve
25 - The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ
26 - Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God, Boxing Day (Canada)
27 - First-Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen
28 - 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
29 - 14,000 Infants (the Holy Innocents) Slain by Herod at Bethlehem
31 - Sunday after Christmas: Commemoration of the Holy Righteous David the King, Joseph the Betrothed, and James the Brother of the Lord

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Long ago, the wily one cast his weapon and wounded Adam and killed him; Indeed, he completely destroyed the weak man. But now, even if he struck the bodies of the noble men, he did not destroy their spirits. He persuaded the first-created man to fall by words, but not even by deeds, the noble ones. Bewitching the former, he made promises; he made offers to the latter: For Adam, the making of a god; for the martyrs, honor. He offers what he does not have; he suggests bestowing things not in his authority. Therefore, saints, having shattered his scheme, You gained crowns. 

Kontakia of Romanos, On the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I.