Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Death That Brings Life

Dear Parish Faithful,

A bit more on the Dormition of the Theotokos from St. John of Damascus (+749):

Today the treasury of life, the abyss of grace (I do not know how I can say these things with my bold, fearless lips!) is wrapped in a death that brings life. Undaunted, she draws near to death, having given birth to death's destroyer - if one may call her departure from the world, so full of holiness and life, a death at all. For how could she, who brimmed over with true life for all, ever become subject to death's power? Still, she yields to the law established by her own Son, and as a daughter of the old Adam she undergoes the ancestral trial, since even her Son, life itself, did not refuse it. But as Mother of the living God, it is also right that she should be brought into his presence. For if God was concerned "lest the first human being reached out his hand and take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever ..." (Gen. 3:21), how can she, who has received the life that knows no beginning or ending, the life free from the boundaries of both birth and death, not live herself for endless ages?

Let us praise her, then, today with sacred songs, we who are privileged to be called and to be the people of Christ. Let us honor her with an all-night assembly. Let us delight in her holiness of soul and body; after all, she is truly, after God, the holiest of all beings, for like always delights in like! Let us do her homage by or mercy and our compassion for the poor. For if God is honored by nothing so much as by mercy, who can deny that his mother is glorified, too, by the same thing? She has opened to us the unspeakable depth of God's love for us!

St. John of Damascus, Homily II on the Dormition, 2, 16.

Fr. Steven

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