In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!
“O protection of Christians which cannot be put to shame, O unfailing intercession with the Creator, disdain not the suppliant voices of sinners; but Thou be swift, O Good One, to help us who in faith cry to Thee; hasten to intercession and speed Thou to make supplication, O Theotokos Who dost ever protect those who honor Thee.” This is how we often sing in honor and praise of the Most Blessed Virgin Theotokos with special tender emotion, offering up all our unworthy prayers to Her and crediting Her alone with all the timely help that we receive from above.
Why do we have such complete devotion to our All-Holy Lady Theotokos and what does the author of this hymn want to suggest to us by this most vivid sense of his zeal for Her? Here the Church expresses its faith and conviction that the first, all-powerful and quickest Help and Intercessor for all before God is truly the All-Blessed Virgin Theotokos, that She, standing face to face before the Throne of Her Son and our God, incessantly prays for the salvation, blessing, and protection of His heritage. Thus the Church suggests to us that, having become the Mother of the Son of God and our Redeemer, the Most Holy Virgin became the Mother of all the righteous and the unfailing hope of sinners. Her most pure hands are spread out all over the Christian world with wholesome miracles and signs—obvious and manifest tokens and proofs of Her mercy and intercession, so frequent that we can hardly enumerate them. The infinite glory with which She is praised in heaven higher than the Cherubim and the Seraphim, is indeed equal to the ineffable mercy with which She appears around the world among Christians.
Therefore, it is meet and right that the Holy Church unceasingly extol the Mother of God, prompting us, unworthy as we are, to glorify Her as well. And we are all beneath Her all-powerful protection and shield, and She embraces us with Her great mercy. With our worthlessness, it is precious to us to have a good and true helper in our everyday needs, and particularly in perils. And it is more pleasant and comforting for us to set our hopes on the Most Holy Virgin Mary and Her intercession for us before the Throne of the Most High. We have a whole range of needs, both spiritual and physical, which cannot be satisfied by anything but Him; likewise, we face manh dangers, which cannot be averted by anything but His all-powerful help. Meanwhile, our prayers and entreaties often do not reach the Heavenly King due to our sins and our extreme unworthiness. We often implore and cry to God, but the Lord does not heed us because we beseech Him without faith and beg without hope. We are often drawn to goodness but are unable to do good; quite the contrary, we often do the things that we loathe in the heart of our hearts. We want to be virtuous, but still remain sinners. We give vows to abandon sin, but cannot part with sinful habits and stop ourselves from enjoying sin. And, according to the Holy Scriptures, we still drink iniquity like water (cf. Job 15:16).
In our weaknesses, needs, and spiritual dangers like these the Most Holy Virgin intercedes for us, who are very feeble in faith, hope, and love, and She inclines the mercy of Her Son and our God on us, unworthy as we are, beseeching Him to be merciful to us, to shield and guard us. Knowing our weaknesses, She extends Her merciful gaze even to our smallest needs and requirements. Having the same nature as us, She loves us with complete holy love; and, knowing many wants, sorrows and humiliations from Her own experience, She is especially close to those who are unhappy, those with contrite hearts, the orphans, the sick, the helpless, the persecuted, and the hurt. Open books on Church history, look intently at the life of the pious faithful in the past, and the boundlessness of benefaction and miracles, poured out by the Mother of God on the human race, will appear in front of you in its entirety. Amen.