Today the Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation, the beginning of our salvation. Virgin Mary is chosen as the bridge between heaven and earth. Virgin Mary is chosen as the ladder of God’s incarnation and man’s deification. Virgin Mary is chosen as the place for the Son and Word of God to dwell. Virgin Mary is chosen to bring into existence, as vessel of Divine Grace, the Savior of our world, Jesus Christ.
Was the choice of the Virgin Mary an accidental one? Our Lady was not randomly chosen by God and did not randomly join the plan of Divine Providence. In Her person great virtues are being reflected; virtues that made Her capable and worthy of Her great and redemptive mission. Let us dwell on four of the virtues that adorn Our Theotokos.
The first great virtue was Her faith. This faith was tested when Archangel Gabriel conveyed God’s will. Her initial doubts were subjugated in silence of faith. Her faith did not waver even when She saw Her Son being humiliated and driven on the Cross. She was always certain, She had firm faith that God has His plan and Jesus Christ is following the path of voluntary passion and sacrifice for the salvation of men.
The second great virtue of the Virgin Mary was Her purity. Her purity is likened by St Nicolaos Kavasilas with the Ark of the Old Testament, which was unharmed despite the total destruction of the flood. As the Ark – which saved man from the flooding world, offered mankind the opportunity to continue – the same thing happened with the Virgin.
The third great virtue of the Virgin Mary was Her humbleness. She never uttered boasting words for the honor paid to Her person. She never sought supremacy and honors next to Her Son. She never sought a prominent role in the early Church. She taught and She is still teaching us, with Her prudent attitude, the humble spirit of silence.
The fourth great virtue of the Virgin Mary was Her obedience. She could deny the will of God and reject the heavy and high mission, announced by Archangel Gabriel. However She accepts the will of God by saying: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Obedience made Her worthy of Her mission and made Her an unparalleled benefactor of mankind. She became Mother par excellence among people.
Her arms, constantly overextended, protect the world, bless and save us, even when our eyes cannot see it. She is love and compassion, mercy and care, mediation and fervent prayer! She is the mediator between us and God and, for this reason, we keep a special place in our heart for Her. “Panagia mou!” is the expression heard whenever we face difficulties.
Regardless of our mistakes, our imperfections, our sins and our falls, the Virgin Mary is always with us, within our life. Let us fervently pray to Her, who was blessed to bring in the world our Savior, to render us worthy so as to substantiate our position in the Church and to follow our way to salvation. In this effort we have as safe indicators Her own virtues: faith and purity, humility and obedience to God’s will. Amen!