Daily Devotion to the Theotokos
Ninth Day of the Month
Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive
and bear a child, and shall call His name Emmanuel."
These words of the holy prophet Isaiah astonished all those who heard them. Nature does not permit a virgin to bear a child, yet the prophecies are sure and are always fulfilled.<
When would mankind see this great wonder? When would this Child be born in such a way that even the laws of nature are turned aside by His birth? For, the will of God is greater than the power of nature and God is not limited by any laws.
What kind of woman would God choose to be part of so great and amazing a miracle? What woman could ever be worthy to be chosen for this wondrous work of God, to serve in the fulfillment of His promise to send a Redeemer and Saviour?
Even the angels were amazed when they heard that God the Word was going to be born into the world as a babe from the womb of a virgin, and we stand in even greater awe at this wonder.
O Theotokos, angels and archangels bow down before you as the living throne of their Creator and God. You were the one chosen out of all races, ages and generations to bear the Living God in your womb for the sake of our salvation. How did God choose you? Can it be because the fragrance of your purity of both body and soul rose up before Him as the fragrance of the most beautiful and sacred incense? Surely it was because of your meek, humble and loving obedience. But there must have been even more. There must be virtues and a purity and devotion which is beyond the power of the human mind to understand.
The all-seeing and all-knowing God alone could know your soul and heart and choose you for the greatest service any human being has ever given.
O Most Pure and Ever Virgin Mother of our Saviour, we look with awe and reverence upon you as we behold how the laws of nature were overturned by your childbearing. Our minds cannot grasp the greatness of what took place through you, but by God's grace we can understand in our hearts that you have been made the highest of all human kind, and that you have been lifted up above the angels and archangels, and even above the cherubim and seraphim. The ancient prophecies which even the heavenly hosts trembled to behold are fulfilled in you.
If only I could imitate your virtues just a little. If only I could be free of the passions and sinful disposition which constantly leads me back into bondage to Satan. But I am weak in spirit, and I always do the things which my conscience tells me not to do. How can any human being, bound with the passions of our fallen nature, ever hope to come close to God and find salvation? I take hope in you, O Full of grace, for I see in your life that, truly, with God, all things are possible, even the salvation of my wretched soul.
When I behold you and the work which God performed through you, my soul rejoices and I am comforted. I find new strength for repentance and struggle and new hope in the mercy and grace of God my Saviour. Therefore, I magnify you in Orthodox fashion, crying out:
O Most Pure Theotokos, I your unworthy servant come before the glory of your virginity and ask you to pray for me that I may find the path of purity and godliness, and live a life well pleasing to God, so that He may bestow upon me great mercy and the salvation of my soul and body.
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virgin shall conceive and bear a child,' the prophet Isaiah did proclaim
of old. In thee, O Theotokos, has this great wonder been fulfilled,
and He, Whom Job longed to see with his eyes, had been manifested in the
flesh for the redemption of those who chant to Him: Alleluia.&"
Nine, Akathist to the Joy of Canada)