Daily Devotion to the Theotokos
First Day of the Month
“And God planted a garden to the east in Eden...and [He planted] the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden. And a river poured forth in Eden to water the garden. From there, it parted and became four streams.... And they heard the voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden...” (Genesis 2:9-10, 3:8)
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Do you truly understand the great mystery of the Holy Virgin Theotokos? Do you understand how God foretold us about her from the very beginning? Do you know why true followers of Christ hold her in such reverence and awe?
Come, O faithful believers, and in prayerful contemplation, let us learn of the Theotokos, that we may also learn of the love and compassion of our God.
Allow your mind to wander back to the time of creation and contemplate that garden of spiritual delight which was created for mankind.
Remember with joy how God planted a special paradise where He could come and fellowship with mankind, as a loving father walks with his children in the garden in the cool, pleasant evening. Think of how God gave us His wonderful gifts of grace in the trees of that garden, but most of all, think of the Tree of Life which he planted there, in the midst of that garden. Let your heart be filled with wonder as you contemplate that great fountain of living water that poured forth from paradise and became four streams which flowed out to water the whole earth.
Does your soul not grieve in you when you remember how our ancestors disobeyed God and lost that paradise, where they had walked with Him and where they might someday have eaten of that tree of life? Let your heart weep in sorrow as you think about your own sins, and how they keep you from walking close to God and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit as a cool, comforting, evening breeze.
Then, in your repentant grief and sorrow, call to mind the Theotokos, and let your heart feel joy and comfort once again, as you prayerfully say to her:
I realize now that you are a likeness of the Paradise Garden of Eden, for through you, God has once more come down to earth to walk with His children. I think of that tree of life that grew in paradise, and then I understand that Jesus Christ is the fruit of that tree. With awe and wonder, I realize that your womb is like the tree of life, for the fruit of your womb is our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself. Through you, O Theotokos, the fruit of the tree of life has come back to us, and now we can receive It and partake of It.
My heart rejoices in you, O Theotokos, for now I think also of that mighty fountain which poured forth from Paradise and sent out four streams to water the earth, and the mystery of your childbearing becomes more clear.
Our Saviour Jesus Christ is a mighty fountain of Living Waters, and you, like Eden, are the garden from which He sprang forth. Just as that spring of old sent forth four streams to water the earth, so Jesus Christ sent forth the four Gospels as streams of pure, spiritual water to nourish the whole world.
Now I understand why the Holy Church calls you, in hymns, a "spiritual paradise." I am filled with joy and hope when I think of you, Most Pure Mother, and all the wondrous things that God has done through you, and I call upon you:
O Most Pure and
Holy Virgin Theotokos, pray to God that I might find the path of
repentance, and by His mercy, draw near to that tree and receive the fruit of everlasting life, being
nourished by that spring of life-giving water.
* * *“From the garden of old, a great fountain gushed forth into four streams to water the earth, and through thee, O Theotokos, thou mystical garden, a mighty font of Divine grace has poured forth upon all mankind, bestowing life and salvation on those who cry out to Christ our God: Alleluia.” (Kontakion Two, Akathist to the Joy of Canada)