Table of Contents
Contemplations on the Wednesday Theotokia Lobsh.
Ezekiel the prophet…
Ezekiel the prophet,
Has witnessed saying,
“I saw a gate to the East,
Sealed with a mysterious seal.
And no one else entered it,
But the Lord of Powers,
He entered and went out,
And the gate remained sealed.”
For the gate is the Virgin,
Who gave birth to our Savior,
And after His birth,
She remained a Virgin.
Blessed are you, O Mary, who was looked upon by the Father from heaven and was chosen by Him to carry His Only-Begotten Son. You are the gate that Ezekiel saw, sealed with a mysterious seal that could never be broken into – for the seal was God’s will when He chose you from among all the women of all the world and all ages. O pure and chosen Virgin Mary, blessed are you among women, for the Father looked from heaven, and found no one like you!
The Only-Begotten went into the sealed gate, and went out of the gate again, yet the gate remained sealed – oh, what marvel is this! Not only were you a virgin, O Mary, before the Lord of Hosts took flesh from you, but you remained a virgin, just as Ezekiel saw the gate shut and mysteriously sealed. O gate of Jerusalem, the City of God and the joy of all the saints, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus Christ our Lord…
Blessed is the fruit of your womb…
Blessed is the fruit of your womb,
O who gave birth to God for the world,
So as to redeem us from the hands,
Of the unmerciful tyrant.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:15).
Since the Fall, the Lord promised that the Seed, who is Jesus Christ, would be born for the world, that He may redeem us once more from the hands of unmerciful tyrant, and grant us life once again. Blessed Mother, you are the woman, who was chosen to bear the Seed. Blessed indeed is the fruit of your womb, who has redeemed us from our sins and trampled death by His death.
I look to myself and I ask, am I a faithful servant to the Lord? If so, what fruits have I born? Before trees can bear fruits, a seed is planted in the ground, that the tree may first grow and flourish, and thus bring forth fruit. Likewise, before I , the weak servant, can bear fruits of love, joy and peace, I must invite the Seed, the One True Lord, into my life, that His Spirit may dwell within me. How else can one bear the fruits of the Spirit?
The blessed Virgin accepted the Lord in her life since her childhood, and devoted her life to His service. She was chosen among women to bear the Source of all fruits, the Lord God Almighty. She is indeed full of grace! Intercede on our behalf, O Mother of God, that He may grant us fruitful lives, bestow upon us His grace, and forgive us our sins.
Blessed and perfect are you…
Blessed and perfect are you,
O who has found all grace,
Before the king of glory,
Our True Lord.
You deserved all honor,
More than anyone on Earth,
For the Word of the Father,
Came and was incarnate of you.
How often do we strive to make our ways known before many, proclaiming to all how and whom we serve, and boasting of a righteous life? How often do I think of what would please those around me, and forget about the matters that will please my Lord and Savior? Indeed, many will seek to be rewarded by those who are superior to them, and to be recognized by the people around them. Why is it that one will appear righteous before his friends, yet in secret will not strive to build his spirit, and fight to resist sin, secretly forgetting that the Lord knows and sees all?
Who do I seek to please? I ask myself. Is it the Lord? Is it my friends? Or perhaps myself, who takes fulfillment in pleasing my friends? Perhaps the true question is: Who is the Lord in my life?
I look at the Virgin Mother, the Holy Theotokos, who proclaimed to Gabriel saying, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” These words alone are enough for us to know who the Lord was to her. He is God, He is the Savior, and in His service she rejoiced. This was her pleasure…to please the Lord. The Holy Mother submitted her life to serve the Lord in love and humility. Elizabeth praised her, yet she did not pride herself, but rather praised the Lord Himself saying, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” She did not desire the world, nor the glory of the world. She desired only the Lord and His service.
Therefore, the Lord chose her among women, and honored her more than anyone on earth. She was chosen to bear the Son of God! She is honored in heaven, for she is higher than the Cherubim and Seraphim. Truly she is worthy of praise and honor. Teach us, O Mother of the True Lord and King, to love Him and please Him above all. Intercede to the Lord that He may forgive us our sins.
And He walked among men….
And He walked among men,
As a caring Lover of Man,
Until He saved our souls,
Through His holy Appearance.
Let us worship our Savior,
The Good Lover of Mankind,
For He had compassion upon us,
As He came and saved us.
“For every time you eat of this Bread and drink of this Cup, you preach my death, confess my Resurrection ,and remember Me till I come.”
These are the very same words that our Lord said when instituting the Eucharist, which is, for each one of us, His ongoing effort to Love. From the beginning, God has dealt with us, as the beloved of all His creations. He did not cease from trying to win our hearts, even though we showed little appreciation in return. Still, He willed to walk among men, as a caring Lover of Man. He walked among mankind. He saw first hand the result of sin and the fall of our nature. I’m sure it greatly saddened our Lord to see all the suffering, the mocking, the lying, all the murder, the stealing… He felt us, cried with us, ate with us, mourned with us, rejoiced with us… however, in all this, His entire mind was filled with the plan of restoration.
Even today, we have not learned – we sin, daily. We forget His words of promise and sometimes deliberately disobey His commandments… only to get up again, and most likely, we sin again. It’s an ongoing cycle.
As odd as it may sound, this cycle is absolutely normal, not out of touch at all. We all go through our own struggles, some big and some small. However, there are only struggles that God grants us, never something that He knows we can’t handle – it’s our cross, which we must bear as He bore His, pressing forward, until death, which is our victory, for “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
Imagine if He would have given-up at the sight of those soldiers, the torment, the ridicule, the scourges, and ultimately the Cross. Oh, where would we be now?
Even, St. Antony the father of monks; I can’t bear to think of him giving-up, even after all the different demons he waged war against, the beatings, the temptations. The devil is the prince of lies, his primary goal is not to lead us into sin but to make us despair and lose hope. We must not fall into despair, for if we do so we are lost.
You might think: “But Lord, I’m tired, I feel that You are so far away… I can’t help feeling that I have failed You… I feel that You don’t love me anymore because of the things I’m doing, or because I’m double-sided.”
Friends, this is Warfare…a battle for eternal life! “For if we have been united with him in a death like His, we will certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him…So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:5-8,11).
Even David the Prophet, King Solomon, Samson the Judge, and so on, suffered in spiritual warfare. No one is exempt. It is our Cross, that all must carry without faltering. Yes, we might fall but Christ always gives us the strength to get up and continue. Even, in the sacraments, we may confess our sins and then fall again, but that’s perfectly fine, since it is our nature – all we can do is give it our best shot.
That’s what Christ is there for, if we lean on Him with total trust, we should feel that when we confess we have dumped a huge load off our backs and should expect that this load will return, only to get washed clean again…it’s a life-long process.
In His limitless love, He gave us the Church for shelter. The Church, the Sacraments are the light in our dark tunnel. We go to Church not because we are good but because we are weak and sinful, in need of help. Take comfort in this, for it is the inevitable truth.
We are all in the same boat…but there’s always hope with God. Let us worship our Savior, the Good Lover of Mankind, for He had compassion upon us, as He came and saved us
Hail to you O Virgin…
Hail to you O Virgin,
The very and true Queen,
Hail to the pride of our race,
Who gave birth to Emmanuel.
We ask you to remember us,
O our trusted advocate,
Before our Lord Jesus Christ,
That He may forgive us our sins.