My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
A TRANSITION TO LIFE: DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD (Part II)
By Our Geronda (Elder) Ephraim of Arizona of
blessed memory (+219).
Indeed, how greatly pleased Our Lady is when she sees us struggling for our salvation. What satisfaction this brings her! And she herself, while on earth, how hard she struggled in her quiet way–though since she was sinless, there was no need for her to do so–so as to leave us with an example of PERFECT ASCETICISM. After her dormition, they found in Gethsemane where she lived, slabs where she had performed her prostrations and they were deeply undented from all the wear and tear she had subjected them to.
Let us also imitate her direct obedience, her endearing humility, her secret, internal, spiritual effort, her ardent prayer, the constant watchfulness which she showed, her divine love, and the spiritual pain she felt as a knife at the Cross of her Son.
To those who struggle, she becomes a "SUPPORTIVE ALLY," even if they have previously lived prodigal lives. Let us remember that the Mother of God "stood bail" for Saint Mary of Egypt after the latter’s repentance. And when Saint Mary retreated into the desert to take on her relentless struggle. Our Lady herself consoled her with her divine appearances.
As novice-mistress of monastics, the Mother of God is also the provider of divine gifts to them, especially those on the Holy Mountain. It was she who gave the gift OF "THE PRAYER OF THE HEART" to Saints Maximos Kavsokalivitis, Gregory Palamas, Silouan the Athonite, and also to the late Geronda Joseph the Hesychast, who is directly linked to our brotherhood. Another reason why today is of particular importance to us who are the spiritual children of Geronda (Elder) Joseph the Hesychast is that it was on this day, in 1991, that he fell asleep in the Lord.
Geronda (Elder) Joseph loved Our Lady very much, our sweet little mother–as he called her–and he received so many insights, divine appearances, and gifts from her. And, indeed, one particular characteristic of the blessed Athonite Fathers is their love for the Mother of God. At the sound of her name, they were unable to restrain their tears which came from pure love for the Virgin Mother. Merely on hearing her name, a soul that loves God is moved to wonder, gratitude and thankfulness. So even the recollection of the Mother of God, that is recalling the person of Our Lady to the mind, sanctifies the person who does this. The late Father Athanasios Iviritis used to say that love of the Mother of God saved people, even if they did not have any works to show.
People today have to use the Mediation of the Mother of God, which is for our salvation. In every one of our sorrows and problems, we must not forget "the help of the saddened, the Protectress, Defender, comfort of the faint-hearted," to whom we can have recourse and find consolation, immediate release, and response.
We pray that Our Lady the Mother of God, who has been "TRANSPORTED TO LIFE," will always give her blessing to all of us, so that we may spend the present life as safe and sound as possible from the deceits and wiles of the Evil One, and that she will make us worthy of the Heavenly Kingdom of her Son. Amen.
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In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did
not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As Mother of Life,
you departed to the Source of Life, delivering our souls
from death by your intercessions."
[Aplytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Dormition