Has anybody ever asked you what your top 5 favorite songs are? Or your top 5 favorite books? Or your top 5 favorite desserts? Could you name them?
Well, in our Church, we have our top 12 big feastdays (plus Easter—Pascha, of course), and today is one of
them. Today is the top feastday for celebrating Mary, the Holy Theotokos, the Mother of God! But why do we celebrate her so much? Why do we love her so much? Why did God love her so much too? The Gospel today tells us why!
Once, after Jesus had been healing and preaching to the people, “a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you.’” In other words, she said, “Your mother is blessed because she was your mother!” But Jesus said to her, “‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and
Mary was Jesus’s mother, but she also heard the word of God and kept it! Our Lord tells us something special with these words. It’s not just our family that makes us close to God, even if we have saints for our family! Jesus said, “Blessed are the ones who hear the word of God and keep it.” So, today and every day, we can ask the Theotokos to help us keep God’s word, because we know she sure did!
SAINT TARCISIOS: THE ALTAR BOY
Do you ever have the chance to serve in the altar? Or maybe you have helped the church in other ways on Sunday mornings? Last week we celebrated the feastday of a young man, Triantaphyllos, who died for his faith and his love for God. Today, we celebrate the feastday for another boy who had such a strong faith, too. He was an altar boy, an acolyte, and he lived more than 1,700 years ago.
Tarcisios was an orphan, because both of his parents had been killed. They were killed because they were Christians, and the Roman authorities did not allow that. Tarcisios spent a lot of his time at church, and he served as an acolyte, a special helper, in the altar. Tarcisios also visited the Christians in prison. The guards let him in, because he was just a child and they didn’t think he could do much harm. Well, the bishop heard about Tarcisios, and he gave him a special and important job. He wanted him to bring Holy Communion to the Christians in prison. Tarcisios did this holy job for a while, but once he was caught. The men asked him what treasure he had.
Tarcisios knew what a precious treasure he had. He said he would rather die than show them. Some other Christians were able to get the Holy Communion from him, before the soldiers grabbed him, arrested him, and finally killed him. Tarcisios is a special example for all of us, but especially for children, and especially for boys who serve in the holy altar! We remember St. Tarcisios today, August 15th (OC: Aug. 28th)