My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
ORTHODOXY HOLDS MOTHERHOOD TO BE SACRED
On May 9th this year we celebrate Mother’s Day. This day is dedicated to a precious and special human being, a woman, and who is a gift from God Himself to all of us. To honor one’s father and mother is a Divine Commandment: "Honor your father and mother that it may be well with you, and your days may be long upon the good land your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). To those who honor their father and mother, God promises a reward, namely, a long and spiritually prosperous life on earth.
God the Father chose for His Only-begotten Son to have a very special woman to be His earthly mother. "Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David" (St. Luke 1:30-32). Elizabeth when Mary visited her said, ‘But why is this granted to me, THAT THE MOTHER OF MY LORD SHOULD COME TO ME?" (St. Luke 1:43).
Our Lord Jesus Christ loved, respected, and was obedient to His earthly mother when He was a young boy. He never stopped carrying for His mother even when He was dying on the Cross He made sure that she was taken care of by His beloved disciple John. "When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by He said to the mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold YOUR MOTHER.’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home" (St. John 19:26-27). Jesus spiritually establishes Mary’s role as mother of all faithful disciples–of the entire Church.
The Holy Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments, presents many righteous and holy women who gave birth to prominent and great men and girls who were chosen by God to serve Him as Prophets, Prophetesses, Martyrs, Confessors, Teachers, holy Fathers and Mothers of the Church. Motherhood within the Christian Church and family held a most sacred place. Motherhood was held in high esteem with our holy Faith for, by the grae=ce of God, gave birth to a new life. The woman’s womb is sacred. "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You" (St Luke 11:27). "Thus the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB, I KNEW YOU, AND BEFORE YOU WERE BORN, I SANCTIFIED YOU, I ESTABLISHED YOU A PROPHET TO THE NATIONS" (Jeremiah 1:4-5). It is, therefore, clear that the woman’s womb is where life begins and is formed by God Himself. God honors mothers and protects them and their babies. No one but no one should dishonor a woman especially when she is blessed to be a mother. Also, the womb should not become a chamber of horrors, where a baby, a child, is dismembered and killed even before he or she is born into this world.
In our Holy Orthodox Church, there are special prayers and blessings before the woman is in labor, following the birth of her child or children, and after 40 days when she is brought and is sanctified. The following are some of the prayers:
On the birth of a child.
O Sovereign Master and Lord Almighty, Who heals every sickness and every weakness: do You Yourself heal this Your servant (Name) who this day has born a child, and raise her up from the bed on which she lies. For according to the words of the Prophet David, in sin were we conceived and all are defiled before You; protect her, and this child which she has borne, shelter her under the covering of Your wings from this day to her last…". "…Keep this woman safe under Your mighty hand. Grant to her a speedy recovery. Cleanse her of every sin; bring healing from suffering, and vouchsafe unto her health, and strength of both soul and body; and guarding her round about against every attack of invisible spirits…"
Churching after forty days.
O Lord God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who by Your word has made every rational and irrational creature, that brought all things out of nothingness into being: we pray to You and implore You, cleanse this Your servant (Name), whom by Your Will You have preserved, and who now comes into Your Holy Church, from every transgression, so that she may be accounted worthy to partake of Your Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) without condemnation…".
Prayer for a woman in difficult labor at childbirth.
O Lord God Almighty Creator of al things, and the Giver of all knowledge to mankind: Who fashioned the body of man from the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and grant unto him the blessing that he might increase and multiply through the BIRTH-GIVING OF WOMEN TO CHILDREN. We beseech Thee now, O Thou Who lovest mankind to bless Thy handmaid, (Name) who is with child, granting her help and comfort at this trying time, ease her labor, and bring her to safe delivery. Yes, O Lord, open Thou the Treasury of Thy mercies, and Thy compassion unto her, and let her give birth to a fruitful vine, that he (or she) may be a cause of joy to her all the days of here life…".
May Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, and our Savior bless all the mothers on this Mother’s Day and throughout their lives. To our mothers who have asleep in the Lord, may Our Lord grant them everlasting life among the righeous and holy.
A Blessed Mother’s Day to all of you and may God grant you many years. May the Holy Mother of God pray for all of us, that we will be saved and that we will follow God wholeheartedly as she did. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD