As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Yes rather (Μενοῦν), blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” (Lk 11: 27-28)

Is our Lord denying the “blessedness” of His Mother, in reply to the woman in the crowd who just “blessed” the Theotokos? No. But He is drawing the attention of this woman-in-the-crowd to the kind of “blessedness” she, personally, and everyone else in the “crowd” of Christ’s followers, including us today, are called to share with the Birth-giver of God. Lest we subtly dismiss the journey of the Holy Virgin, as one irrelevant to us, made in a galaxy far, far away.

While nobody shares in the Theotokos’s unique vocation, to be “the womb that bore” Christ and nursed Him, when “the word became flesh,” we do all share a common, human vocation with the Ever-Virgin from Nazareth. And that is, to “hear” and internalize the word of God, “keeping” it or nurturing its light and life within us. It is in this way, in the various contexts of our specific vocations, that we become “blessed” birth-givers and spreaders of the word of God in our world. Because, when that light is burning inside us, nobody is going to put it “under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Mt 5: 15)

So today, as those of us on the “New” Calendar celebrate the great feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, and we bless the uniquely Blessed Among Women, let me not dismiss myself from the “blessedness” we are all invited to share with our one-and-only, more-glorious-than-the-cherubim Lady. “Blessed are those,” my Lord reminds me, a woman in His “crowd” today, “who hear the word of God and keep it!”

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