And now, for something completely different.
And some mighty fine chanting. This hymn is a favorite of mine, being rather consonant with my frame of mind of late. Unfortunately, my parish held liturgy this morning, when I was occupied with teaching folks driver's education, Army Style. Yes, I'm a Master Driver. That should frighten anyone familiar with my driving record.
Anyway, this Feast is one that I have come to love. The veneration of the Theotokos was probably the greatest stumbling block to my conversion to Orthodoxy. I mean, I could understand most of the Saints pretty easily, but the Theotokos is everywhere in Orthodox liturgics.
And now, I say with St. Proklos,
O desired and wondrous gathering! O nature, celebrate that whereby honor is rendered to Woman; rejoice, O human race, that in which the Virgin is glorified. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom 5:20). The Holy Mother of God and Virgin Mary has gathered us here. She is the pure treasure of virginity, the intended paradise of Second Adam, the place where the union of natures (divine and human) was accomplished, and the Counsel of salvific reconciliation was affirmed.
Who has ever seen, who has ever heard, that the Limitless God would dwell within a womb? He Whom the Heavens cannot circumscribe is not limited by the womb of a Virgin!He Who is born of woman is not just God and He is not just Man. He Who is born has made woman, the ancient gateway of sin, the gateway of salvation. Where evil poured forth its poison, bringing on disobedience, there the Word made a living temple for Himself, bringing obedience there.
. . .
What an incomprehensible mystery! I see the miracles, and I confess that He is God. I see the sufferings, and I cannot deny that He is Man. Emmanuel opened the doors of nature as man, and as God He preserved the seal of virginity intact. He emerged from the womb at birth the same way He entered through the Annunciation. Wondrously was He both conceived and born: He entered without passion, and He emerged without impairment.