She is the Source of Life

A Homily for the Feast of the Lifegiving Spring     

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Christ is Risen!

In these joyous Paschal days, the holy Church dedicates the Friday of Bright Week to the Mother of God, celebrating in honor of her wonderworking Lifegiving Spring Icon. This feast is celebrated with sincere Christian love for the Most Pure Mother of God.

Rejoicing in the Resurrection of her Son and God, today we magnify the Most Pure Lady, our Theotokos. We magnify her as the Lifegiving Spring, because she truly serves as the source of Life, having given birth to the immortal King, Christ the Savior, by Whose Resurrection we are, brothers and sisters, heirs to eternal, unending existence and eternal, blessed, unending life. We who believe in Christ the Savior believe that we do not die after seventy or eighty years, but we dwell, we pass over just as across a threshold; through the word “death,” we go to eternity—to where Christ is calling us. And if there is no eternity, then our life is meaningless. What is the point then of living, suffering, getting sick, growing old…? Yes, it would be better then to die in infancy, so as not to suffer any grief from children and grandchildren; no worries, no diseases, no tragedies. There is no meaning to life if there is no eternity. But when there is eternity, then there is a point to living, enduring, and asking God to amend our lives, so difficult and sorrowful, and humbly striving for the life He promised us with His sure word through the Holy Gospel and the Holy Apostles.

She is the source of Life, having given birth to the King of Life—Christ the Savior—having given birth to the Second Hypostasis of the Holy Trinity, God the Word, incarnate of her in the flesh. She is the source of Life, pouring forth a multitude of healings and consolations from her wonderworking icons as from a fountain. She is the source of Life, giving Christians great relief from suffering, sicknesses, and all sorts of difficulties, when they run to the Mother of God, serving molebens for the blessing of the waters before her holy icons, entreating her for help.

What mother hasn’t prayed to the Mother of God when her children were sick? What mother hasn’t remembered the Mother of God and prayed before her as she accompanied her son to the army or when he served in foreign wars? Who hasn’t called upon the Mother of God for help in difficult moments in life? Who hasn’t asked her for help—and how many has she helped, being the source of Life and the help for many who have gathered here?

People have gathered here not just out of idle curiosity. Some consciously, some subconsciously live by love for the Mother of God. Some have personally experienced great miracles of her maternal intercession, her maternal help. I’ll put it in the words of the proverb of our God-loving people: “The people don’t go to a barren spring for water.” So look at our wonderworking icon, how many offerings she has, how many people today have come to pray to the Mother of God, have stood throughout the service and stand, listening to the hymns of praise to her, our intercessor, with whom we rejoice today. She grieved as a mother over the crucifixion and burial of her Son. She especially rejoices in the Resurrection of her Son, and we rejoice with her. And we rejoice with her, that we have her with us. We thank God for the wonderful protection He has given us in the person of His Most Pure Mother. And we thank the Mother of God, that despite the fact that we have often departed from her, she doesn’t depart from us, but has mercifully remembered us, prayed for us, and continues to pray for us.

As the Lord told one sinner who said, “I don’t believe in God”: “But I believe in you.” In the same way, the Mother of God awaits all of us, as her lost children, to turn to the truth path that leads to a moral life, to the spiritual life, to life according to the commandments of her Son.

Let today be an inspiration for some for further struggles in the spiritual life, and for others to begin their struggles with sin and embark upon the path of eternal and unending life. Today, brothers and sisters, we have all joyously prayed at the service! And when the holy water is sprinkled now, we all become like children, everyone reaches out their hands, entreating—more holy water, more! Bosses, subordinates, the elderly, the young, children, adults, high-ranking men— all become like children, all forget about their position in society, about their importance; all become like children, and all reach out their hands. But why? Because the soul feels joy. And joy must have a source. There is a source of joy—God. There is a meaning to this joy—eternal life. And there is, brothers and sisters, a manifestation of this joy—contact with God; contact with the power of God, which will overshadow you now in the sprinkling of the holy water.

Feel this joy and understand that it is more joyous to live with God; but without God it is gloomy, dreary, and hopeless. Only with God, brothers and sisters, will there be joy. And look, brothers and sisters, the clouds are gathering. The Lord has granted us to go on a cross procession, to bless water, and now we will go into church, and it will begin to rain. The Lord is simply waiting for us to finish glorifying His Mother, so we don’t get wet. And in this is the mercy of God and the joy of co-existence and being with God.

Strive for this, live with God, and your life will acquire meaning, and much that seems sorrowful and hopeless will become completely different—you will see, brothers and sisters.

I greet you all again with the feast of the Queen of Heaven, with the feast of the Resurrection of Christ.

Christ is Risen!

Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk
Translation by Jesse Dominick

Svyatogorsk Lavra


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