The example of the Most Pure Virgin Mary should be a guiding star for each of us
The event of the death of the Mother of God was not only physical, but as the philosophers would say, metaphysical. That is, something that is not subject to the laws of nature and belongs not so much to the physical world as to the spiritual world.
In Church Tradition, which goes back to deep antiquity, to the second to third centuries, the great mystery of the Theotokos’s ascent to Heaven in her most pure flesh was included in her veneration.
Thanks to her especial purity of soul and flesh, she was vouchsafed to become the vessel that contained the divine Spirit, so that from her was born the Son of God and Son of Man, our Lord Jesus Christ. Why did it happen this way? It was by no means random. In the Epistle of Apostle Paul to the Philippians that we read today (Philip. 2:5–11), we find these words: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. The apostle speaks of the great task that the Virgin Mary resolved in full measure, and by her sanctity and purity was made worthy to become the Mother of the incarnate Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, few there are who can fulfill this commandment in full measure. And even those who were saved and became saints did not achieve this by their own merits, but by the power of God’s grace, the power of the Holy Spirit—that Spirit, the seal of Which each one of us receives through the Sacrament of Chrismation. Therefore all of us ordinary people who bear upon ourselves the seal of human limitation, who commit sins, nevertheless have the opportunity to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit—on the condition of our sincere repentance.
The example of the Most Holy Virgin Mary should be a guiding star for each one of us.
Today is a great feast. We glorify the Virgin from Nazareth, Who received this mind, who rose above all creation through the power of her personal spiritual podvig and sanctity. This is why we bend our knees before her image; this is why we pray to her with especial strength: Because she is one of us. The example of the Theotokos grants us hope that through repentance, through prayer, through faith, through doing good deeds, we can with humility complete the path that leads us to the Heavenly Divine Kingdom.
Patriarchal sermon on the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God
After the Liturgy in the Christ the Savior Cathedral
August 28, 2021