Saturday, September 4, 2010
A New Year and Prelude to Joy.
It is very interesting to take a look at the beginning of the new church year which started on September 1. The very first major Feast we celebrate (September 8) is the birth of the Theotokos. This is not insignificant.
Today the gates of barrenness are opened,
and the virgin gate of God comes forth.
Today grace begins to bear its first fruit,
revealing to the world the Mother of God.
Through her things on earth are joined with the heavens
for the salvation of our souls.
The very beginning of our salvation is not the birth of Christ, but the birth of His mother - "today grace begins to bear its first fruit". Through her obedience the Incarnation was made possible, the Incarnation by which "things on earth are joined with the heavens". Truly miraculous, indeed the salvation of our souls.
Today is the prelude of universal joy;
today breezes blow that herald salvation,
and the barrenness of our nature is dispelled;
for the barren woman is revealed as the mother
of her who remained a virgin
after giving birth to the Creator.
From her the One Who is God by nature
takes what is foreign to Him and makes it His own;
and works salvation through the flesh for those who have gone astray.
He is Christ, the Lover of mankind and the Redeemer of our souls.
The barren woman of course is St. Anna, the grandmother of Christ, and through her "the barrenness of our nature is dispelled". Again we come to see the Incarnation, "the One Who is God by nature takes what is foreign to Him and makes it His own; and works salvation through the flesh".