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How Do We Honour Saint Mary?

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How Do We Honour Saint Mary? | St Shenouda Monastery Pimonakhos Articles

Some may wonder how the humble saint says in her praise to the Lord:

“For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name” (Luke 1:48-49)?

Does she ask for herself praise or glorification from humanity across the ages, for she became, through the incarnation of the Logos of God from her, greater than the heavenly hosts?

Her praise here is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity. For the Father planned the incarnation, the Son was incarnate, and the Holy Spirit dwelt upon her. He prepared her for this divine and wondrous act, according to the words of the angel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore also, the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

She was praising God in the name of all humanity, because of the free divine salvation. This is the praise of every true faithful, who experiences the work of God in his life and the sweetness of the token of the kingdom of heaven.

He looked to the humility of His maidservant

She calls all generations to remember her gazes upon He who was born of her, for He is the Logos of God incarnate to offer up Himself for the world (John 3:16). This Saviour is no longer far away from us, for He dwelt among us (John 1:14), and raised His kingdom in us, when He said. “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).

Saint Mary calls us to look to our depths to witness our Saviour, incarnate of her, establishing His throne in our hearts.

In humility, we marvel at His dwelling inside us, for through His Holy Spirit, He shapes us every day, renewing us and sanctifying us that we may in truth become a living icon of Him!

All generations shall call me blessed

If praise is enjoyment of the blessed angelic life, we therefore praise her for she became the greatest example in all humanity, for she became a second heaven. Our blessing of her is fulfilled not only through singing the Theotokias, which are praises of God’s work in the mother of God, “Theotokos”, but also that we increase from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 2:18), and we are qualified to sing: “Hail to the Church, the house of the angels.” Who are these angels? The believers who praise God continually without ceasing and become like angels of God.

Saint Mary does not need any of us to bless her, but rather she rejoices in our repentance and return to the Saviour and our resembling of the heavenly hosts, and our tasting of the union with the choir of the angels!

Just like the mother and the father rejoice with the success of their son and feel as though they themselves succeeded, likewise, Saint Mary rejoices whenever we join the group of the blessed ones.

Whomever desires to bless Saint Mary, first must start with meeting her Holy Son, and sing with his heart and mind before his tongue, saying:

“O You who established from the poor virgin, a mother for Yourself O Creator of heaven and earth, Establish from my weakness a member in Your Holy Body, In Your one only universal and apostolic Church. O Holy One, sanctify me with Your grace, and prepare me to enter Your paradise, and join the choir of the heavenly hosts. Grant me, I- the ash and dust, to enjoy the token of heaven!”

For He who is Mighty has done great things to me

What are the great things that the Mighty did with her?

  1. He who was born of her is “the Holy One”, thus; she became sanctified in Him and by Him. She turned our sights from the waste that we descended to through sin, to focus our sights on the Holy One who dwells in us, and prepares for us a place and will come to take us with Him!
  2. The saint became the “mother of God”, the place of amazement of the heavenly hosts, and we became through Christ Jesus children of God the Father, a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit, and members of the body of Christ! In truth, we became a workshop of the Holy Trinity.
  3. Through the incarnation of the Logos in her womb, she enjoyed the union with attributes of our Lord Jesus. The mystery of every virtue in her life is her union with the Saviour. Therefore, we should not marvel when we hear Peter the apostle say “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4)

With every blessing of Saint Mary, we also bless the Church, the Bride that encompasses members from Adam to the end of ages, from all nations, peoples and tongues!

To You belongs glory, O Lover of Mankind, O who desires that everyone is saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4).