THE SELF-OFFERING OF THE THEOTOKOS
“The most pure Temple of the Savior; / the precious Chamber and Virgin; / the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, / is led today into the house of the Lord, / bringing with her the grace of the Spirit. / Therefore, the angels of God praise her: / ‘Truly this woman is the abode of heaven.’” (Kontakion-hymn, Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple)
Today, those of us on the “New” Calendar celebrate the Most-Pure Virgin “being led,” at three years of age, into the Temple; and those of us on the Older Calendar – the feast of the Archangel Michael and All the Bodiless Powers (i.e., the invisible creation of angels, archangels, seraphim, cherubim, etc.). Thankfully, the above-quoted hymn allows me to reflect on both feasts, as it also mentions the angels.
The angels praise with us the self-offering of the little Jewish girl from Nazareth, who is “led” like a lamb into the earthly temple, henceforth to live separately from her beloved parents and to be prepared for her unique vocation, of serving as “the most pure Temple of the Saviour.” Her self-offering makes possible the bringing together of the human and the divine in the Person of Jesus Christ, and also of the visible and invisible creation. Today let me praise the merely-human little girl from Nazareth, who for all our sakes takes the first little steps toward her unique cross today, of serving as the “heavenly ladder” between us and the rest of God’s creation, both visible and invisible. Let me let myself be drawn in to her all-unifying, all-embracing Motherhood, letting myself participate in its “wholeness” or “salvation.” “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”