Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nativity of the Theotokos

Imagine my embarrassment last night at Vespers when I realized that Saturday was the Nativity of the Theotokos.  I had forgotten completely about it, so focused was I on the Elevation of the Holy Cross on September 14.

So we went through our normal Daily Vespers routine at 6 pm, and this morning I awoke at 6 am to make the drive to Christ the Saviour in McComb.  I took some video that may not have turned out too poorly.

The Nativity of the Theotokos is one of several important feasts of the Church we have in September.  Indiction is the beginning of the Church year, and occupies an interesting position in the Church calendar; it is treated as a feast of the Theotokos, coming as it does in the gap between her Dormition and her birth.  Father Benedict's sermon today was about the importance of the Theotokos in the plan of salvation.

Salvation is not a solitary practice in the Orthodox Church.  We are all struggling along that road together.  But salvation is not merely a process for man; it is a plan of God's.  The Theotokos, child of two elderly, pious Judeans of David's line, was selected out of time to bear Christ for the salvation of all men.  Holy Tradition tells us that the Archangel Gabriel spoke to both Joachim and Anna separately, telling them that God would answer their prayers for a child, and that that child would be dedicated to the Temple.

From about the age of four years, the Virgin Mary lived her life daily in the Temple, serving the Lord along with other children so dedicated.  Today we commemorated her birth, and the reification of God's plan for man's salvation.

Troparion of the Feast, in Tone 4

Thy nativity, O Virgin,
has proclaimed joy to the whole universe!
The Sun of righteousness, Christ our God,
has shone from thee, O Theotokos.
By annulling the curse,
He bestowed a blessing.
By destroying death, He has granted us eternal life.

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