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Homily for 8/5/12 - P9 - The Virgin Mary

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  • Fr David Moser
    Today we have with us the miraculous Hawaii Iviron icon of the Mother of God. Today also we celebrate feasts of the Pochaev icon of the Mother of God and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2012
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      Today we have with us the miraculous Hawaii Iviron icon of the Mother of
      God. Today also we celebrate feasts of the Pochaev icon of the Mother of
      God and the icon of the Mother of God, the Joy of All Who Sorrow.
      Recently we celebrated the feasts of the Akhtyrsk icon and the Kazan
      icon of the Mother of God. There are so many different icons of the
      Mother of God and each has its own special story and character. The
      Pochaev icon tells us of the miraculous intervention of the Mother of
      God protecting the Church from harm; the Akhtyrsk icon shows us the
      Mother of God grieving before the Cross; the Joy of All Who Sorrow icon
      shows us how the Mother of God prays for each of us who ask help of her.
      The Iviron icon is also known as the Portiaissa or “Keeper of the Gate”
      and shows us the Mother of God who is the gateway by which God took
      flesh and dwelt among us. These are only a few of the many miraculous
      and wonderworking icons of the Virgin Mary.
      What is it that makes the Virgin so important to us that we should have
      so many different icons? And what is it that makes us so important to
      the Virgin that she should grace us with the many miraculous icons that
      have appeared throughout the world and throughout time? The Virgin Mary
      was not just a randomly chosen person who happened to be in the “right
      place at the right time” for the incarnation. She was, in fact, the end
      product of God’s preparation throughout all of time for His own
      incarnation. When Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of Paradise, God
      Himself promised the coming of the Messiah, God incarnate, who would
      come to free mankind from our captivity to sin and to heal our spiritual
      illness, returning us to the place of our first parents on the path of
      salvation. From that moment, God began to prepare the way for His
      incarnation. He called out Abraham to be the father of a chosen people
      from whom the Messiah would be born. He chose Isaac over Ishmael and
      Jacob over Esau, the direct descendants of Abraham as the carriers of
      this blessing and destiny. By His servant Joseph, He guided His people
      into the land of Egypt preserving them from the famine that was in the
      land. By His servant Moses, He guided His people out of Egypt,
      delivering them from the slavery into which they had fallen. By His
      servant Joshua, He brought His people into the promised land and gave
      them victory over all those who were their enemies. By David the King
      and his lineage, God established the Hebrew nation and by the words of
      the prophets guided their spiritual development. By the prophet Daniel,
      the chosen people were preserved while in captivity in Babylon and later
      were delivered from that captivity and returned to the promised land.
      All of this was done, perfecting the chosen people so that at the proper
      moment a young girl was born to the Joachim and Anna who was the
      pinnacle of the Hebrew people, the one who was the perfect vessel for
      the incarnation, the true Ark of our salvation, the doorway prepared by
      God throughout the ages by which He would come into the world.
      The Virgin Mary lived a perfect life, from the moment of her miraculous
      birth (for her parents had been childless throughout their lives and
      were old past the normal age of the childbearing) to her dedication to
      the service of God and entry into the temple at the age of 3 years. She
      lived in the temple and having been revealed to the High Priest
      Zacharius as the true Ark and the ladder by which God would come down,
      she was brought as a perfect offering into the place of the lost Ark of
      the Covenant, the Holy of Holies, there to commune with God and to weave
      the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the
      temple (and this curtain would later be torn from top to bottom at the
      moment of our Lord’s death opening the door between earth and heaven).
      Even into her womanhood, against all social and cultural convention, she
      chose to live a virginal life and was given into the protection of the
      righteous Joseph her protector. There could be no other person from
      among men who was as perfect as she. But even as perfect as she was, she
      still could not open the gate between heaven and earth – that could be
      accomplished only by God incarnate, the God/man Jesus Christ, the son of
      the Virgin. She could not open the gate, but in giving birth to the
      God/man Jesus Christ, she became the gate and now holds the door of
      heaven open for all of us.
      Having seen the exalted nature of the Virgin Mary, let us then ask the
      question why do we matter to her that she should bestow such grace as
      this miraculous icon upon us. Just as she is the mother of our Lord
      Jesus Christ, so she has become the mother of us all for we are all the
      adopted brethren of Christ. She looks upon each one of us in the Church
      with the same motherly love and compassion that she felt towards her own
      Son. We are her spiritual children and so she bestows upon us all the
      care and love of a mother for her children. By the virtue of her Son,
      she has taken us as her own children and lifts us up towards heaven just
      as she raised her own Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The love that she has
      for Him, she now showers upon us as well. It is because of this love for
      us that she bestows upon us the great gift and grace of a multitude of
      wonderworking icons, each one showing us a different side of her love
      and care for us.
      This icon before us today, the Iviron icon of the Mother of God is an
      exact copy of the Montreal Myrrhstreaming Iviron icon which was given
      into the care of Br Jose Munoz. Throughout his life Br Jose took this
      icon throughout the world and the Virgin bestowed her love to us through
      it. Now that the Montreal icon was hidden through the tragedy of Br
      Jose’s martyric death, the Mother of God has brought forth this icon,
      the Hawaii Myrrhstreaming Iviron icon to remind us that we are not left
      alone, we are not bereft of her care and presence – she remains with us
      and cares for us now as ever and holds the door of heaven open for us
      that we might enter into the divine life of union and communion with her
      Son and our God our Lord Jesus Christ.
      Spend a few moments today before the icon, open your heart to the love
      of the Mother of God and our own spiritual mother. Listen for her voice
      as she prays for you, breath in the fragrance of heaven surrounds her,
      let the myrrh of her motherly love touch you and be strengthened by her
      care. The Mother of God is here with us today, and even when her icon
      departs from us and continues on its travels, the Virgin herself will
      not leave us and will not abandon us, but will continue to open for us
      the gates of heaven that we might enter into the joy of our Lord.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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