Sunday, August 15, 2010

More on the Theotokos - I

In today's Church bulletin there is the following on the back cover

In the Apostolic Church, the Most Holy Virgin Mary was treated with great reverence and respect. It is said Christians came from all over the world to hear her speak about the wondrous events she experienced in her life and her intimate knowledge of the teachings of her Divine Son. Have you ever wondered what she was like? Drawing on information passed down from other early saints,

Ambrose of Milan has this to say about the Theotokos: "She was humble in heart and full of wisdom. Her rule of life was to offend no one, to intend good for everyone and to be virtuous in all she did. Her steps were quiet and her voice straightforward, so that her face was an expression of her soul. She was the personification of purity."

Nicephorus Callistus, a 14th century church historian, describes the physical appearance of the Mother of God in this manner: "She was of overage stature, with golden hair. Her eyes were bright and her face was marked with great character. She was not overly concerned with her outward appearance, nor did she pamper herself. Aspecial grace surrounded all of her actions."

Although there are no scriptural details chronicling her death, accounts of her last days on this earth have been handed down to us from the writings of saints such as Dionysius the Areogopagite and Meliton of Sardis. At the end, the Holy Spirit gathered together in Jerusalem all the Apostles (except Thomas) so that she could give them one final blessing and so that they could be privileged to witness her burial. Her Dormition occurred at the Third Hour (9 AM). Tradition tells us she had a vision of her Son shining brilliantly in her chamber, after which she uttered her last words - words that had guided her life from the moment the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that God had special plans for her: "My soul magnifies the Lard, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."

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