Monday, October 7, 2013

The Protection of the Theotokos

October traditionally is a month when being an Orthodox Christian seems to be very challenging. Now that the children (and college students) are back in class full swing, school-sponsored and other youth league sports call so many families to the sports field on Friday evening and all day Saturday for youth and college sports. Sunday television is dominated by NFL Football. Homecoming dances and other school-sponsored social activities fight for their place on our family calendars, not to mention HOMEWORK! And THEN comes Church…

Sunday Divine Liturgy, Wednesday Paraklesis, Saturday Vespers, Fasting Wednesday and Friday, Sunday School, Greek School, GOYA, HOPE/JOY, Bible Study…Where are we supposed to find the time for the Church activities with everything going on around us? Does the Church expect us to stop participating in sports and school dances? Can’t the Church be more flexible?

As these questions find their way into our vocabulary, we should remember that in October, the Church reminds us of the Feast of the Protection of the Theotokos. This feast, scheduled originally for October 1st but transferred in Greek Orthodox parishes to October 28th following World War II to coincide with “OXI Day” when the Greeks stood up against tyranny, is meant to remind us that the Mother of God, the All-Holy and Ever-Virgin Mary, is constantly watching over us as her own children. We are in fact, her children since at our Baptism we were joined to Christ and made members of His Body, the Church.

When life seems to be so complicated that we need the advice of a mother, we should consider turning to the Theotokos, and she will warmly and lovingly remind us of what matters in life. She will draw us closer to Christ and His Church for protection – and we need protection more than ever these days. This is why the Church offers the Paraklesis to the Theotokos. It is our chance to gather as a family and seek the comfort and protection of our mother, the Mother of God.

And when you arrive for Paraklesis, you can even include names of your friends and family who may not be able to come to Church but needs God’s help and His Mother’s advice. Then together we can sing the hymn:

A protection of Christians unshamable,
Intercessor to our Holy Maker, unwavering,
Please reject not
The prayerful cries of those who are in sin.
Instead, come to us, for you are good;
Your loving help bring unto us,
Who are crying in faith to you: Hasten to intercede
And speed now to supplicate,
As a protection for all time,
Theotokos, for those who honor you.

1 comment:

Catholicfacingeast said...

Amen - She's the real honey!