Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos

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The Lord, in His Providence of the salvation of the world and mankind through the ages of ages, chose the Most Holy Virgin Theotokos of all peoples and of all those who appeared on this world, that through her He establish salvation and His coming to this world. For this is her birth so glorious and magnificent and significant for many reasons. We read in the life of her parents Joachim and Anna that they lived piously and righteously before God, and by God’s providence, for a long time they didn’t have children, they were without seed and fruit for which they suffered shame before the whole nation of God Israel. But God seeks the most strong characters that through them He establish that which is for our salvation and to show their virtues, regardless of whether that might seem humbling and as some sort of a exception or apostasy. Very often God establishes the salvation of the world through such people. Thus, through Sts. Joachim and Anna the Most Holy Virgin was born, She who would bear in her all-pure womb – through the Holy Spirit – the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, out of their thanksgiving for the gift of their freedom with which the Lord crowned them, made a promise to dedicate their child to God’s service in the Temple, so that from very early on she was the handmaiden of God. Having grown up in the Jerusalem Temple she consecrated her soul and body through her ceaseless prayers and the building up of her faith, so that she herself became the Temple of God. This life of her’s from her early childhood is a wondrous mystery, a mystery of great piety and God’s great providence. But how great then is the mystery which the Lord established when He decided to bend the heavens, to come down and dwell in Her all-pure womb for us and our salvation. All of that is so significant, beautiful and magnificent that the human tongue cannot describe it, nor can the mind of the archangel grasp it, for it is the deepest mystery of God’s love which encompasses the whole universe and every man – each of us. For us and our salvation God allowed, predestined and ordered it so for the salvation of this world, to dwell in the womb of the Most Holy Virgin, to receive from her human nature and to truly become a man – a man who bears in Himself divinity, so that through His human nature He might unite us with God, lift us up to the heavens, to bless  us, cleanse us, enlighten us, that he might grant us new life, new joy, a new state, a new feeling.

From a homily of Bishop Joanikije of Budim and Niksic ,
September 21, 2009, Monastery Kosijerevo, near Niksic

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