THE PROTECTION & COMPASSION OF THE THEOTOKOS
“I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps 115:4 / Ps116:13)
This Psalm-verse functions as the “Communion Verse” for all of our church-feasts in honor of the Mother of God, including the feast of the Protection (Покрова) of the Most-Holy Virgin and Mother of God, celebrated today by those of us on the Older Calendar. Why? - And I don’t mean “why” the Older Calendar, although that is a good question, ☺ - but why this verse for all Marian feasts?
The Mother of God is being praised for the “cup” of the cross, of which He prayed on that night in Gethsemane, that it be taken from Him, if possible (Mt 26:39). She co-carried the cross, with her Divine Son, to an extent greater than any other Christian, than any other co-carrier of His cross, ever. This is why, on several feasts of the Theotokos, we also have the Epistle-reading from Philippians 2:5-9, which calls us to remember His cross and have the “mind” of the Cross (as did the Theotokos): “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2: 8). The Mother of God not only had this cross-carrying “mind,” in her Christ-loving and hence Christ-like journey; She is also able to relate to our cross-carrying journeys, and to have com-passion for us in our difficulties along the Way.
Today, as we celebrate the “Protection” and intercessions, for all of us, of the Most-Holy Theotokos, let me ask for Her help and guidance on my cross-carrying journey, to which all of us are called: “Let this mind be in you,” the Apostle says to me, “which was also in Christ Jesus.” As it was also in her, Full of Grace, I ask for her help, whenever “my lamp is going out.” (Mt 25:8)