I will receive the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.“ (Ps 115: 4, according to the Septuagint; cf. Ps 116: 13)

This Psalm-verse serves as the “Communion-Verse“ chanted at Byzantine Divine Liturgy on feast-days in honor of the Mother of God. Why? Because the Most-Holy Theotokos received Her Son’s “cup,“ – and in bibical language that signalizes suffering – before anyone else did. And She showed us how this is done, calling upon the name of the Lord in Her brief acceptance-speech: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk 1: 38) She also experienced Pentecost before anyone else did, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Her; and She experienced bodily resurrection before us, in Her glorious Dormition, celebrated today by those of us on the Older Calendar.

Thus She can and does show us how it is done, the whole grace-filled adventure of cross-carrying. So today as I receive my “cup of salvation,“ I also “call on the name of the Lord,“ asking for the guidance and help of His ever-caring, ever self-offering Mother. She shares with Him not only Her “DNA,“ but a willing Self-offering, for all of us. “By the prayers of the Theotokos, Saviour, save us.“ Amen!

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