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Spiritual October Report

November 4, 2022

Protection of The Most Holy Mother of God

In my last article, entitled “Life Goes On,” I wrote that from our infancy through old age, no matter what happens on our life’s journey, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to make it through all the conflicts and problems which we meet along the road of life. During this journey of life, however, there are times we need protection, so who can we turn to for this protection?

On October 1st of each year some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God. This Feast can be traced back to the tenth century in Constantinople (now Istanbul). During the reign of Constantine VII, 913-959, the Saracens were trying to conquer Constantinople and had begun the decisive battle. The terror-stricken people gathered in various churches of the city to pray. In the Blachernae church near Constantinople, during the night services when the faithful implored the Mother of God for help, St. Andrew, the Fool for Christ's Sake, and his disciple, St. Epiphanius, saw the Mother of God appear in a cloud and pray with outstretched hands together with the people. Then, at the close of her prayers, she removed her beautiful veil (omophorion) from her head and held it over the faithful as a sign of her unfailing protection. The next day the city was freed from danger.

There are many ways God could have become a man, but he chose to be born of a woman who in her human nature, accepted completely the will of God, so that through her, God could enter our lives. In the Gospel story of the Marriage Feast at Cana, it was his mother, who interceded with Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, to make wine out of water, telling the stewards, and along with them, saying to all of us, “Do whatever he tells you.” As his mother, she began the story of Jesus’ mission, even though he had said, “My hour has not yet come.” This truly is power given to her by God. This is still Mary’s relationship with us. She is our protector and motherly intercessor. She is the mother of all believers. Our Lord, on the cross, gave her to his beloved disciple, John, and through him to all of us. Her message to us is still “Do what my Son tells you.” This is why we can seek the protection of Mary, the Mother of God, and why we can sing, “Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us,” and why we can even pray, “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”

Although this event took place a half a world away and more than ten centuries ago, the fact remains that "never was it known that anyone who fled to Mary's protection, implored her help or sought her intercession was left unaided" (St. Bernard). In reading the lives of the saints we notice again and again that they acknowledged Mary the loving mother as their intercessor who consoled, comforted, and protected them. This Feast of her Protection celebrates the power of Mary, who fights on behalf of Christians, and is a mighty protector of the People of God.

Our “life goes on” but now and then we need help. The next time that you face what seems to be an insurmountable problem, pray to Mary, the Mother of God to intercede for you to her Son, Jesus, to show you the way.

“UNDER YOUR PROTECTION we seek refuge, O Mother of God. Despise not our prayers in our necessities, but deliver us from all danger, O Only Pure, Only blessed One.” (Believed to be the oldest known prayer to the Mother of God.)

Mitred Archpriest John S. Kachuba | GCU Spiritual Advisor

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