Saint Mary Mother of God
The entire life and character of St. Mary is one of inner glories and riches, “for the Lord does not see as man sees for manlooks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks atthe heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). For this reason St. Paul says, “We do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal”. (2 Corinthians 4:18).
I. St. Mary = Possessed Inner Glory
”You are the ark, overlaid with gold on all sides, which is made of undecaying wood, for she was clothed with the glory of the divinity from within and without (Sunday Theotokia)”. “The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; her clothing is woven with gold”. (Psalm 45:13). On the exterior, St. Mary had nothing for which others could envy her; she was not famous, nor rich, she kept content and silent in her inner glory. She gloried in her Lord and Saviour, “My soul rejoices in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:46-47).
II. St. Mary = Possessed Inner Riches
St. Mary was rich in grace; Archangel Gabriel greets her: “Rejoice highly favoured one…do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God. (Luke 1:28-30).“Hail to you full of grace, hail to you who has found grace, hail to you who has given birth to Christ, the Lord is with you”. (Saturday Theotokia). “Many daughters have done well but you excel thsem all.” (Proverbs 31:29). St. Mary possessed the inner richness of a submissive and obedient heart, deep prayer and praises, contemplation and meditations, gentle spirit and powerful faith in Christ. Therefore Elizabeth exalts St. Mary saying,“Blessed are you among women, blessed is the fruit of your womb and blessed is she who believed that there shall be a fulfillment of these things”. (Luke 1:42-44). The humble St. Mary “kept all these things in her heart and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
III. St. Mary = Possessed Inner Beauty
”The Father looked from above and could not find any one like you. He came and was incarnated from you”. (Wednesday Theotokia). In the Morning Prayer we beseech St. Mary, the Father chose you, the Holy Spirit over shadowed you and the Son, in humility, was born from you asking to redeem the world He created. St. Mary’s inner beauty radiated great joy to all humanity as we chant saying, “Hail to St. Mary the joy of Generations”. St. Mary’s inner beauty is reflected in her concern for others. Over the mountains she traveled with haste to assist her frail cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39). At the wedding of Cana of Galilee she tells her Son and Lord they have no wine (John 2:3). This inner beauty made St. Mary a second heaven where God the Logos dwelt. St. Peter stresses inner beauty by saying, “Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
IV. St. Mary = Possessed Inner Purity
St. Mary was most pure in mind, heart and thoughts. Thus, St. Mary became a living sanctuary for the Lord of Hosts to dwell. David the Prophet asks, “How can a young man cleanse his way, by taking heed to your word. (Psalm 119:9). Christ clarified this saying, “You have been made clean already by the words I have spoken to you, abide in Me and I in you”. (John 15:3). Indeed, “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). St. Paul adds, “To the pure all things are pure but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure but even their minds and conscience are defiled.” (Titus 1:15). “You have become the stock of purity and the vessel that carries the true Manna; O pure Mother of God, O honoured Virgin” (Theotokia of Tuesday).
”You are higher than the Cherabim and found more honourable than the Seraphim (Sunday Theotokia). This honour was because St. Mary was clothed with authentic humility (1 Peter 5:5), “for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Indeed the more we, “humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up” (James 4:10). St. Mary always perceived herself as the handmaid of the Lord. “Blessed and perfect are you, O who has found all grace, before the King of glory, our True Lord. You deserved all honour, more than any one on Earth, for the Word of the Father, came and was incarnate of you.” (Wednesday Theotokia).
In St. Mary we have a faithful intercessor whose inner life is a model to meditate upon. May this Holy Fast be spiritually rich in which our inner person is filled with grace upon grace.
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The Holy Virgin St. Mary By HH Pope Anba Shenouda III