People/Choir: Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us. (Refrain of the First Antiphon)
People/Choir: Save us, O Son of God, Who are wondrous in Your saints, we sing to You, Alleluia. (Refrain of the Second Antiphon on weekdays)
To be “saved“ means to be “made whole“ or “recovered/restored to health.“ So the journey of salvation is one of recovery. I aim to recover from the ailment of fragmentation, both within myself and of myself from other people and from God. I make this journey not on my own, but with the help of those more experienced, in the great “communion of saints“ that is the Church. The most prominent place in this great fellowship is occupied by the Birth-Giver of God, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. As She was the “gate“ through which the Word became flesh and entered our shoes, our humanity, She is traditionally perceived as an image of the Church, which continues to be the “gate“ through which we, in our humanity, enter into communion with divinity.
So as I hear or chant these refrains at the beginning of Divine Liturgy, surrounded by the visible, holy icons in church, let me also let the invisible, heavenly Church into my heart. Because here, at Liturgy, we are called to “lift up our hearts“ and let the heavenly mingle with us, the earthly. Here the walls between heaven and earth, erected by us, are swept away, when I let go of “all earthly cares“ and hand myself over to the Mystery at hand.