Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.
There are many names used for the Virgin Mary. One of those words is the “Theotokos.” Theotokos means “God-bearer.” This is a beautiful name because not only it describes the Virgin Mary, but it describes all of us. We are all called to be “God-bearers.” Actually, we all carry God within us. John 1:9 says, “Christ is the true Light who enlightens and sanctifies every person who comes into the world.” So, we are all God-bearers, no matter what we may think or how we may act.
How do we do this? By being like the Virgin Mary.
When the Virgin Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel and told that she would bear Christ within her womb, her response was very simple “Behold I am the handmaiden of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) In a word, Mary showed obedience. It was all about the Lord and not about her. She didn’t question God’s will for her life. She stepped forward and embraced it.
And thus it needs to be the same way in our lives—We need to be obedient to God, make it more about Him than about us, and have faith and trust, rather than questioning everything. This is how we become a Theotokos, a God-bearer ourselves. Now we each carry God within us, whether we think so or not. So it is it not so much that we are trying to become a God-Bearer. Rather we are trying to honor God who already dwells within each of us.
Today’s prayer is the “Magnificat”, a hymn taken from the Orthros (or Matins) service which precedes the Divine Liturgy. Based on Luke 1:46-55, it says some very beautiful things about the Virgin Mary that are still true today:
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.”
More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word, we magnify you the True Theotokos.
Have a blessed day!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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