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Homily for 10/14/12 - Pokrov - Protection and prayers of the saints

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  • Fr David Moser
    Luke 6:31-36 The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God celebrates the day, over a thousand years ago, when St. Andrew, the Fool for Christ, and his
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14, 2012
      Luke 6:31-36

      The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God celebrates the day,
      over a thousand years ago, when St. Andrew, the Fool for Christ, and his
      disciple, St. Epiphanius, stood in church during the Vigil Service and
      beheld the Most-pure Virgin standing above the people with her veil
      spread over her stretched out hands as though to protect them with this
      covering. Accompanied by St. John the Baptist, the Holy Apostle John,
      and other Saints, she stood tearfully praying for the people. Seeing
      this, St Andrew asked Epiphanus, “Do you see how the Queen and lay of is
      praying for the whole world?” This Feast of the Protection reminds us
      that Heaven reaches all the way to the earth and of the constant
      protection of the Mother of God for us .

      There are some who might ask why it is we look to the Virgin Mary for
      help when we can ask Jesus Christ Himself. But this is a foolish
      question because asking the help of one does not exclude asking the help
      of the other. In fact to call out to the Mother of God is in reality one
      of the ways that we depend on the help that our Lord Jesus Christ
      provides. Even during the time of His life here in this world, our Lord
      sent others to assist in His work. He chose the 12 Apostles who were his
      closest helpers in all things, and He chose 70 apostles who He sent into
      the countryside to proclaim the Gospel. At His Resurrection He did not
      come to the Apostles directly but sent others, the myrrhbearing women,
      to tell them that He had risen from the dead.

      Especially after His ascension into heaven, our Lord relied on the help
      of the Apostles and the other believers to spread the Gospel throughout
      the world, to work the same miracles that He worked, to heal the sick
      and feed the poor. But some might still object, “Yes, but they were
      still alive and in the world – now they are dead and so they can no
      longer help us.” And we say to them, “Have you not heard the Good News?
      Christ is Risen! and death is overcome.” Those who have fallen asleep in
      this world remain alive in Christ and a part of the Church. They are as
      active now as they ever were in this life – and even moreso for they are
      no longer bound by the limitations of their mortality.

      In the Gospel reading we heard the commandment of our Lord to love
      others, to be kind to others and to be merciful. He tells us to do these
      things not only for those who respond to us in kind, but to love all men
      even if they hate us and are our enemies. He instructs us to do good
      even to those who do evil things to us and to be merciful as He Himself
      is merciful towards the whole world. One thing we know about the Mother
      of God is that she lived a perfect life, fulfilling the law of God
      without any lapse or flaw. During her life, she did love and do good to
      all men and was merciful towards all. During her life she fulfilled this
      commandment perfectly (as she did all the commandments). Now that she is
      in heaven standing before the throne of her Son, how can it be any
      different? Even now, she continues to love all mankind, to do good even
      to those who hate her and to be merciful. She stands before Jesus Christ
      as the perfect example of mankind and the pinnacle of the human race and
      thus her love and care and mercy extend to the whole world and the whole
      of humanity. This vision of the Virgin holding out her arms and
      protecting the whole world witnessed by St Andrew and his disciple
      attest to the fact that she continues to care for us today even as she
      did in her life. She continues to pray for us standing now face to face
      with her Son and our God. She holds out her protecting arms clothed with
      the veil of the grace of God to shield us from evil and the attacks of
      the one who would destroy us (that is the devil). Thus when we turn to
      Christ for our help, we see the one whom He has chosen to bring Himself
      into the world standing with Him, pouring out the grace she has received
      from Him upon the whole world. To call out to the Mother of God for help
      is to call out to Jesus Christ Himself – there is no difference for she
      has given herself over completely to Him and is perfectly united to Him.
      And she is not alone, but with her are all those who have learned to
      fulfill perfectly the commandment of Christ to love all men without
      limitation or reservation – that is the choir of the saints – and they
      too pour out the grace they have received from Him upon us. To call out
      to them for help is to call out to Christ Himself for like the Virgin,
      the choir of the saints have also given themselves over completely to
      Christ and they are perfectly united to Him.

      This feast today of the Protection of the Mother of God reminds us of
      her care and of the care of all the saints for us. They pray for us
      before the throne of God and through the power of God, in which all
      things are possible, they reach out to us in our need to help us ascend
      to the heights which they have already attained that we too might stand
      before the throne of God and be united to Him and perfectly love and do
      good and be merciful towards all mankind thus fulfilling the commandment
      of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us then reach out to them to receive the
      help that they offer and call out to the Mother of God and all the
      saints, for to call out to them is to call out to Christ. Let us also
      strive to allow the love of God for all men to work in us that being
      united to our Lord we might also do the work of Christ bringing mercy,
      compassion and love to all mankind.

      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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