Malankara World Journal No 27 (Sept 7, 2011) is online
- The Malankara World Journal Issue 27 (dated September 7, 2011) is now available online at:
This is the last of the special abridged editions of Malankara World Journal to celebrate the Nativity of the Mother of God. We will have a Malankara World Journal Supplement tomorrow to end the festivities. Then we will continue the Journal in the weekly format. We hope that you have enjoyed these special editions. We selected articles that are informative as well as challenging; the articles that are thought provoking and inspiring.
Today's keynote paper is by Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopos. Achen's sermons are very inspiring and well researched. My first contact with achen came a few decades ago when achen came to Cleveland, Ohio to visit his son Jijo (a very active member of the Malankara Archdiocese and currently a member of the archdiocesan council) and family. He gave a series of 3 lectures on "Following Jesus." After more than 20 years, I still quotes achen when I speak. Achen was saying that the Christian life is not a bed of roses. God does not always do things so that it inconveniences us the least. On the other hand, we are often tested. He gave an example of the conception of Mary. Achen said, if God wanted to make it easy for Mary, all he had to do was to send angel Gabriel to the betrothal ceremony of Mary and announce to the gathering that God has picked Mary to receive the honor of bearing the future Messiah. She would have been the talk of the town and most looked up to. Instead, what did God do? Gabriel met her alone and conveyed the good news in secret. Mary had nearly came to the brink of being stoned for breaking the vows of celibacy during the engagement and even Joseph did not know till the last moment about the truth of Mary's conception. Today's article by achen is equally informative.
The second article in today's Journal will complement and enhance Joseph achen's article. This article looks at the angelic salutation in a different point of view. During our qurbano, the celebrant turns to the audience and offer them peace several times. However, in case of Mary, the angel did not wish her peace. The angel already knew that word has already entered her and she is already filled with eternal peace. I do not think you will hear this perspective too often. St. Lawrence says that the angelic greeting contains the whole Gospel of Good News. Please read the article to find out how.
We end this edition with a short devotional. When we think of Mary the first thing that comes to our mind is her willingness to obey God and assume any sacrifices that are required to make the redemption plan of God a reality. Oswald Chambers points out that Jesus did not say, "He who believes in Me will realize all the blessings of the fullness of God," but, in essence, "He who believes in Me will have everything he receives escape out of him." Our Lord’s teaching was always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a person— His purpose is to make a person exactly like Himself, and the Son of God is characterized by self-expenditure (like a candle that burns itself out by providing service to others). If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us. Our spiritual life cannot be measured by success as the world measures it, but only by what God pours through us. It is a great meditation that is very thought-provoking.
More articles on Virgin Mary can be found in Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary at.
Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 27
Hail Mary! The Holy Virgin, Mother of God by Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopos
"Hail, Full of Grace": Sermons of St. Lawrence of Brindisi
A Life of Pure and Holy Sacrifice by Oswald Chambers
About Malankara World
Hail Mary! The Holy Virgin, Mother of God
by Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopos
[Editor's Note: Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopos is one of the senior priests in Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. He is leading a 'retired but not tired' life at his house by helping our Sunday school and Seminary students at Udayagiri by doing a lot of translation work required for their study materials. Joseph achen has a masters degree in English Literature and is a retired teacher of Basil School Kothamangalam. He served many churches as vicar in Angamali Diocese and outer Kerala .
We are thankful to achen for responding to our request for an article at a very short notice. The article has been transcribed from handwritten text. There may be few errors and achen did not yet got an opportunity to inspect the final copy due to the deadline for publishing the special edition. We will correct any errors in the web edition.
We need scholars like Joseph achen to come forward and write such quality articles that will become reference materials for future students of our faith.]
St. Mary is the Holy Virgin Mother of God. The name 'Virgin Mother' will seem to be paradoxical; but only one who has studied the mysterious way how St. Mary bore the infant Jesus in her womb can understand how she had conceived even yet a virgin.
Mary was born to Joachim and Ann (Hannah), very old and saintly persons. Child Mary was born after ardent prayers and faith during their old age. The child, after the suckling period was over, was submitted to the temple in keeping with their oath to God Jehovah. The child grew up in the temple with holy people in prayer and meditation. She did not know what sin was. As she grew up, she was betrothed to an old saintly, Just man, named Joseph. It was at such a time that the angel appeared before her and announced about her child-bearing. The angel came unto her and said, " Hail Mary, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women."
Mary was bewildered and wondered what sort of salutation it was. The angel continued:
"Fear not Mary, for thou hast found favor of God. And, behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shalt be great and shall be called the son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever and his kingdom there shall be no end."
Mary was puzzled at this announcement. She took courage and said unto the angel, "How shalt this be, seeing I know not a man?"
The angel answered and said unto her:
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, and therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the son of God." --- "For with God nothing shall be impossible."
And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
This annunciation was too great for an ordinary person to comply with. But Mary did it. She believed it fully and prepared herself to face the after-effects of such a thing. 'A woman espoused to a man was to live with him for an year without coming together (physical intimacy)' was the prevalent Jewish law before the marriage proper. During this period, if one is found conceived, she was to be stoned to death, a ridiculous and ignominious death, according to the Jewish law. Mary was fully aware of this fact. Yet, she was ready to face any catastrophes in this connection lest she should violate her acceptance of the 'word' of the angel. This shows really a sign of her extreme faith in the Lord and she fully believed that the Lord of the Highest would safeguard her.
The miracle in the annunciation is wonderful and mysterious. Mary heard the 'words' of the angel that she would be conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest would be on her. The 'word' hearing through her ears went into her womb and the word became flesh, and from there taking flesh and blood from her until she brought forth her child 'Jesus.'
Her husband was a 'Just' old man who was very much troubled at the knowledge of his betrothed wife's untimely pregnancy. Being just and very sympathetic, he wished to abandon her without the knowledge of anyone else at all. But God was kind enough to make him understand that his betrothed spouse was not polluted and that she was conceived by the Holy Ghost. Joseph wanted to abandon her with a view to keeping her away from the ignominy of bearing a child unlawfully.
These were predestined. In the Holy Bible, in the book of Proverbs Chapter 8: verses 23 to 28 refer to St. Mary according to Catholic Church teaching.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
Proverbs 8:23-28 (KJV)
In the prophecy of Isaiah Chapter 7 verse 14:
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 (KJV)
The annunciation of the angel at Nazareth to Mariam is just a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. It is interesting to see Simeon, the old man in the temple of Jerusalem (St. Luke 2: 21-35).
Read the full article in Malankara World
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In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956