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All Saints Sunday 2017

For the one who had achieved theosis, they knew the only true joy on earth, and the only way to enter into a deeper relationship with God, was to escape from the prison that was their own false self. Theirs was the way of the cross, and a life of self-denial.

The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God
On October 1, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, known in Russian as Pokrov, in which the intercessions of the Mother of God places Orthodox Christians under the protection of her veil.

(Link to:  OCA historical account)

For centuries and for millions of people, it was always the church and the Mother of God which served to illumine, sanctify, and in general, given proper meaning to their lives. Mary was always at the center.
 
The veneration of Mary, sadly, does not seem to be as intense in our lives today. She remains our intecessor before the Lord God, par excellence. If we could just open to placing ourselves in her presence, then we are able to ask her intecession before the Lord our God; and know that all our pain and brokeness will then rest at the feet of our Lord's saving cross. We are able to enjoy this intimate and protection with Mother, if we are willing to surrender.

Surrender, though, is foreign to us. We are encouraged to fight to the end, and never submit. In American culure, surrender is a sign of weakness. If we learned however, that surrendering to Mary is an act of union with the Triune Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, how different our lives would be lived. Like her, we would live in obedience and faithfulness to God.
 
Mary's greatness lies her willingness to not simply hear the Word of God, but to discern that Word, and to apply the Word to herself. This is the true sign of holiness.
 
Mary "always protect those who honor you (her)." Let us rejoice and be glad.
 
Today, let us embrace Mary, and know we are protected by under the cover of her veil.
 
- Fr Marc Vranes
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