“…And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ’Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?...” (Lk 1: 38-43)
As those of us on the “New” Calendar prepare for the upcoming feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, and those of us on the Older Calendar prepare for the Dormition Fast, I’m thinking about certain history-making conversations in the life of a 14-year-old Mary, the most glorious Theotokos. Nobody took note of, nor reported in “the news,” at that time, the conversation Mary, a “nobody” teenager from Nazareth, had with an Archangel, nor the one the Theotokos had with Elizabeth. And yet, the words pronounced in these conversations ended up being remembered, and celebrated, even until our day, by countless Christians, as a source of meaning and inspiration for our cross-carrying journeys.
And now let me think of all the words reported today, in our 24/7 news-cycle, of this or that thing that a politician or celebrity said, for example, just today, to his/her followers, in a tweet or speech or press-conference. How much do I really need to be worried about these words, and how much of my attention do they merit, really, even though they are somehow considered “newsworthy” today? …I don’t know, perhaps the comparison is silly, like comparing “apples and oranges.” But at the moment, as I’m flooded with “news” of the latest outrageous statement(s) of some celebrity in our “news,” I’m finding consolation in the thought that all these words shall pass, and will be forgotten, as useless for posterity. Thank You, Lord, for the life-bringing words of Scripture, including the few, precious words of Your Mother, a “nobody” teenager from Nazareth. As You promised us, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mt 24: 35), – and indeed they haven’t. Glory be to You.