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Monday, October 11, 2010

Motherhood of Our Lady, October 11

The Feast for which the following Lesson and Collect are appointed is not strictly speaking of an Orthodox origin. No Orthodox authorities have, to my knowledge, set forth this day to commemorate this feast, but it is a feast primarily intended to acknowledge the great truth recognized and codified in the decision of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus  in 431 AD, against the Nestorians, and which declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was rightly to be called Theotokos, "God-Bearer." For these reasons, though it is not to be considered an Orthodox commemoration, I have posted these for your perusal and edification.

A Sermon from Saint Leo the Pope

The Virgin royal of the lineage of David was chosen to become fruitful with the divine Offspring. For she who was thus chosen to bear the God-Man had already conceived Christ her soul before she conceived him in her body. And first she learned the counsel of God from the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. So the future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her honour would in no way be lost. For why should she, unto whom was promised all-sufficient strength through the power of the Highest, feel hopeless merely because of the unexampled character of such a conception? Nay, she believeth, and her belief is confirmed by the attestation of a miracle which hath already been wrought, namely, that Elizabeth receiveth fruitfulness, before unhoped for. Hence she might not doubt that God, who had given conception unto one that was barren, would give the same unto her that was virgin. And so the Word of God, (the Son of god, who was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not anything made that was made,) was made man to deliver man from eternal death.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, descending from his throne in heaven, but leaving not that glory which he hath with the Father, cometh into this lower world y being born after a new order and in a new kind of birth. He cometh after a new order, in that he who is unseen of us in his own nature was seen amongst us. Thus the Incomprehensible was fain to be comprehended. And he that is from everlasting to everlasting began to be in time. And by a new kind of birth was he begotten: conceived of a Virgin and born of a Virgin ; without the intervention of any fleshly father ; without any breach of his mother’s virginity. For such a birth beseemed the coming Saviour of mankind who was to have in him the nature of man’s being and to be free of any defilement of man’s flesh. Though he sprung not as we spring, yet is his nature as our nature. We believe that he is free from the use and wont of men, in that it was the power of God which wrought this ; namely, that as a Virgin she conceived, as a Virgin she brought forth, and yet abode she Virgin still.

O God, who didst vouchsafe that thy Word should be made flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the message of an Angel, grant to us thy humble servants, that we, believing her to be indeed the Mother of God, may by her intercession find favour in thy sight, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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