During the month of August, we live a period of fasting, bearing the name of the Holy Virgin, the Mother of Light. We celebrate her feast on August 22nd (Mesori 16th). The Fast of St. Mary, the Feast of the Holy Virgin, and talking about the Mother of the Savior are all beloved subjects to the soul. Even those who are not accustomed to observing all the Church’s fasts, observe St. Mary’s Fast and may even increase their asceticism during this period. During this fast, the churches, especially the ones bearing the name of the Holy Virgin, are all filled with worshippers during the Divine Liturgies and at the other services, which are held almost daily. They thank God and glorify Him, Who was incarnate of the Holy Virgin, for our salvation, and that He made His mother a mother for all of us. When He was on the cross, what Christ said to St. John the Beloved, “Behold your mother,” is something that applies to all those who follow in St. John’s footsteps. Like St. John the Beloved, we also take the Holy Virgin to dwell in our hearts and become a mother, who cares for us and intercedes on our behalf before her Beloved Son.
The intercession of the Virgin, the Mother of Light, is an expression of her motherhood towards us. When we salute the Ever-Virgin, the one full of glory, the Mother of God, and Mother of Christ, we call her, “the saint, and the faithful intercessor of mankind.” We call her “the trustworthy saint infront of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our mother the Virgin is the faithful and trustworthy intercessor. With confidence and strong faith, we call unto her saying, “lift up our prayers to your Beloved Son that He may forgive us our sins…Ask the Lord on our behalf to have mercy on our souls… Intercede for infront of Christ.” Our confidence in the intercession of the Holy Virgin, as a faithful and trustworthy intercessor is dependent on two things:
The Honor of the Holy Virgin:
The Holy Virgin received honor above the Cherubim and Seraphim. When we ask her intercession, we also remember her honor and call her, “the saint, full of glory, the Ever-Virgin, the Mother of Christ, the true Queen, the pride of mankind.” In the Sunday Theotokia, we pray and say:
“You are more worthy than all the saints to ask on our behalf, O, you full of grace.
You are more exalted than the Patriarchs and more honored than the prophets.
Your petition is more special than the Cherubim and Seraphim.
For you truly are the pride of our race and the intercessor of our souls.
Intercede on our behalf before our Savior that He may confirm us in the upright faith, and grant us forgiveness of our sins, so we may win mercy through your intercession.”
Words fail to express the honor and glory of the Virgin, for she has heavenly glory and honor above that of the Cherubim and Seraphim. With reverence, mixed with inner joy, let us recall the words prayed in the Sunday Theotokia:
“All the high names of the incorporeal creatures, the thousands of angels and archangels, don’t reach the greatness of your blessedness, O you, who is surrounded by the glory of the Lord of Hosts.
You are more luminous than the sun and brighter than the Cherubim.
The Seraphim with six wings flutter joyfully around you.”
The glory of the angels and archangels, the radiance of the sun, and brilliance of the Cherubim all dwindle when compared to the glory of the Virgin, “who is surrounded by the glory of the Lord of Hosts.” Therefore, it is no wonder that the Cherubim with six wings flutter joyfully around her.
“Your glory, O Mary, is higher than the heaven and you are honored more than the earth and its inhabitants, for truly you are the true path leading to heaven.”
How can we reach heaven, except through the incarnation of the Only Begotten Son from the Holy Virgin? She is Jacob’s ladder, which joins heaven and earth.
The Virgin Full of Glory is our Mother:
We call her “the pride of humanity”. She was born similar to all of us, and like every human born of a woman, she was in need of salvation from the bondage to sin and death. Thus, in The Magnificat, she said, “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47) The Virgin Mary, who is surrounded by the glory of the Lord of Hosts, has great glory because of the glory of the Lord of Hosts. It is this glory, which gives her boldness more than the Cherubim and Seraphim, for she is the Queen sitting at the right Hand of the Kings of kings and Lord of lords.
The glorious Holy Virgin, who has this great boldness infront of the Lord of Hosts, knows our sufferings, pains, and needs, because she is our mother and member of our human race. This great boldness, along with her true and deep knowledge of the needs of the human race, makes the Virgin the faithful and trustworthy intercessor of mankind infront of our Creator, Lord, Savior, and King, Jesus Christ.
The Virgin, the Mother of Light, intercedes for us infornt of her Beloved Son to bestow upon us the forgiveness of our sins. She intercedes that He may show mercy towards us and confirm us in the upright faith.
Our Mother, the Virgin, the faithful advocate and trustworthy intercessor asks for our worldly needs. At the Wedding at Cana of Galilee, she asked her Son on behalf of the party-givers and told Him, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3) The intercession of the Virgin is wholesome for she asks for our spiritual, as well as our material needs.
Many souls, like St. Mary of Egypt, were attracted to the life of holiness and righteousness through the intercession of the Virgin. Many, who were ill, needy, suffering, or imprisoned, were saved by her intercession. We recall that at the miracle of moving the Mountain of El-Mokatam, her intercession saved the Copts from annihilation during the days of the Fatimid caliph, Al-Moizz Ledean Allah. We also remember the many miracles that accompanied her apparition at the domes of her church in Zeitoun, Egypt.
On a daily basis, we feel the powerful intercession of the Virgin in our lives, in our pastoral ministry, and in serving the needy and suffering. Indeed, those who deny the intercession of the Virgin are poor souls, who deprive themselves of her motherhood.
As for us, the unworthy, we rejoice because of our Mother and joyfully say, “You are more worthy than all the saints to ask for us, O you, who is full of grace.”
O, Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the faithful intercessor of the human race, intercede for us infront of Christ, Whom you have born, that He may bestow upon us the forgiveness of our sins.
Lift up our prayers to your Beloved Son.
Ask the Lord to show mercy towards our souls.
Intercede for us infront of our Savior that He may confirm us in the upright faith.
Intercede for every sinner that he may repent and return to God.
Intercede for every needy and suffering person that God may fulfill his or her needs.
Intercede for every soul walking in darkness that he may see the True Light, Whom you gave birth to, and believe in Him.
Intercede for the whole world.
May the intercessions of the Holy Virgin be with us all and may we always be blessed by the care and motherhood of the Mother of Light.