“In giving birth you preserved your virginity, / In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. / You were translated to life, O Mother of Life, / And by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.” (Troparion or main hymn of the Feast of the Dormition or repose of the Most-Holy Theotokos)

Beauty is always something of a mystery; it defies understanding. And so it is with the inimitable beauty of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God: She presents me with a bundle of contradictions. In motherhood She maintains virginity; in Her departure She remains present; in Her death She reveals life. And in Her humility She attains glory in all generations – an antinomy She Herself pointed out, exclaiming, “For He has regarded the humility of His servant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” (Lk 1:48) Also, based on the lives of many saints, She, the Most Pure of all creation, readily offers Her intercession for the least pure, for the greatest of sinners.

Quite frankly I am at a loss for words, contemplating these beautiful antinomies, brought together in the Blessed among Women. All I can say today is Thank you, to the Mother of God. I thank Her for Her quiet, grace-filled, unconditionally-loving, and beautiful presence in my chaotic life. I don’t know what it is, with Her and great sinners, because it defies my understanding. But today I thank Her for it. I thank Her, the Heavenly Door, for always keeping Her door open to me, when all other doors seem closed. Радуйся, Благодатная! Господь с Тобою. Rejoice, O Full of Grace! The Lord is with You.

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