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Sunday, September 8, 2019

     “By Your Nativity, O Most Pure Virgin, / Joachim and Anna are freed from the reproach/disgrace of barrenness (ὀνειδισμοῦ ἀτεκνίας); / Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death. / And we, your people, freed from subjection to sin (ἐνοχῆς τῶν πταισμάτων), celebrate and sing to you: / The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life!” (Byzantine Kontakion-hymn of the Nativity of the Theotokos)

     The services of the great feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, celebrated this Sunday (NC), are full of difficult theological concepts, like “corruption of death” and “subjection to (liability for) sin,” referring to our human state before Christ. Even more perplexing, perhaps, is the mention of Christ annulling our “curse” in another well-known h...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

     “And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has regarded the humility of his maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For he who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is his name…’” (Lk 1: 46-49)

     As those of us on the Older Calendar prepare to celebrate the great feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos tomorrow, I am thinking about the “Song of Mary.” It’s an outpouring of gratitude from the depths of a young woman’s soul, even though her life had just become extra-“complicated.” Having received unexpected news of the most problematic kind, – specifically, of an unexpected pregnancy…, – the Holy Virgin “ducks under the wave” of humility, and praises the “great things” of God....

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