About Our Holy Lady Theotokos
When we were children, if someone offended us, we used to say that we would go to our mom and tell her everything. May no one offend our monastery, or else we will tell our Mother. We will go at once and tell Our Holy Theotokos, and you will come to regret it. We have someone whom we can confide in our troubles. In addition, when one is scared or hurt, he or she cries out “mom” at once. And we cry out: “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”
One day a highly ranked priest came from Moscow to visit us. He approached our Iveron icon and with a touch of irony admitted: “There are so many offerings hanging on it, aren’t there? Did it really work that much wonders?” I didn’t give him any answer then, but now I would have answered: “Yes, and even more.” It can all be covered up with offerings so that it wouldn’t be seen. Everyone has his or her own relationship with Holy Theotokos and everyone has something to tell about. For us this icon is not just a panel and paints, it is fulfilled with the grace of Our Blessed Theotokos.
Once St. Gregory Palamas was arguing with a theoretician, a learned man Varlaam, who graduated from the academy, but didn’t know what prayer and spiritual life were. St. Gregory Palamas explained to him the issues he didn’t understand being like a blind and like a deaf one. Due to misunderstanding, he argued, contested. St. Gregory came to his Mother, told Her about everything, and Varlaam was punished at the Council. Varlaam, for his part, had been fighting against St. Gregory for a long time. He incited some people in the Patriarchy, confused some learned scholars and insisted on calling the local council. St. Gregory came victorious out of it, as the truth was on his side. Well, that poor man just didn’t realize how a subject can be filled with the energy of God. He didn’t even understand what the energy of God was. Whereas St. Gregory Palamas plainly explained the issue setting apart the essence of God, which is not in any way perceivable by a human, and the energy of God, which comes into the world and dwells with us, and we live by it. Energy is a theological word, it can be replaced by a more common among the church-goers “Grace”. But is it possible to tell about what Grace is to people who are not experienced in spiritual, prayerful life? What are you going to tell them about it? They won’t understand a thing, and, in addition, would laugh at you.
Happy new year to all of you! You know, there is an age-old question among the Christians. What can we do and what cannot? When people live in Christ and act through Christ, they can do anything, as they won’t spoil it. They will do everything the way the Holy Spirit blessed them. While those who are not in the Spirit, will certainly spoil even a good thing. That is the reason why a number of people wonder if they can wish a happy new year or not. Some of them insist that we shouldn’t offer congratulations on someone’s birthday, but on a name day only, and so on. At the same time, people who live a spiritual life are beyond all those boundaries. Why not wish a happy new year? God gives us one more year of life. Let this year be good, spiritual, let us live through it better, then through the previous one which is lost to us and will never come back. However, we need to thank God for the year that has passed. It could have been worse, but it appeared favorable enough. Spiritual people can do anything as they know when to stop. For them everything happens through Christ. They accept all things as good, serene, peaceful and kind ones. They would always say: “Glory to God!” While non-spiritual people are full of misunderstanding, inner conflicts, which find their way out, and they are constantly arguing, finding different points of issue that would serve as a pretext to criticize and quarrel with the Orthodox, for instance. Let us become a little more spiritual in the year to follow, let us concentrate and ask Our Heavenly Mother: “Most Holy Theotokos, help us!” As children, when we had trouble doing something, we ran to our mom and said it didn’t work out. And our mom would always help us. In the same way we should run to Her and ask Her sincerely like a child: “Most Holy Theotokos, please, help me”. And She will surely help.
Happy new year to all of you!
Remember, we are still fasting, keep controlling yourselves.