Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Parting of the Soul of the Theotokos

Date: August 15th

Time: 9:00am

Place: Home of Saint John in Jerusalem

The room was lit with numerous oil lamps. The Apostles were gathered around her praising God. The Theotokos was in bed preparing herself for the time when Her Son would come to her.

She stretched her hands to heaven and prayed.
“I adore, praise and glorify Thy much to be praised name, O Lord, because thou hast looked upon the lowliness of Thine handmaiden, and because Thou that art mighty hast done great things for me; and , behold, all generations shall call me blessed (Lk 1:48)."

After this prayer, she said to the Apostles,

“Cast incense and pray, because Christ is at hand, sitting on a throne of Cherubim.”

When they had prayed, there was thunder from heaven and there came a fearful voice, as if of chariots; and behold, a multitude of a host of angels and powers, and a voice, as if of the Son of Man was heard.

Then there shone in the room an effable light of divine glory which dimmed the lamps. Those that were granted this vision were awestruck. Many saw the roof of the apartment open and the glory of the Lord descending from heaven. It was Christ the King of glory with hosts of angels and archangels, and all the heavenly powers. Also with them were the holy fathers and prophets who prophesied or old concerning the pure Virgin and all the righteous souls, approached His immaculate Mother.

At the sight of the approach of her Son, the Theotokos cried with great joy unto her Son, “My Soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). And behold a stream of light came upon the virgin because of the presence of her Son, and all the powers of the heavens fell down and adored Him. He then said, “Mary.” And she answered, “Here am I , Lord.”

She rose on her bed as if to greet Him. He said lovingly, “Arise, come my beloved, My fair one, My dove (Song 2:10). Arise from the dead with authority, because Thou are My Mother. Arise and come to My Kingdom, for Thou art the Queen of all. Arise to receive My divine glory, O My sweet Mother. Arise and come unto Me, My fair dove, for thou art escorted by Me angelic hosts. take up thy soul on they virginal, incorrupt and divine body that thou mayest soar to the heights of heaven, and go through My spiritual hierarchies, and come unto Me, that thou might sit at My right hand, in order to enjoy the throne of thy Kingdom which is prepared for thee since the foundation of the world. Gird thyself with the glorious and gold-embroidered royal garment of thy virtues. Adorn thyself with the luminous glory of thy divine blessedness. Arise, come My beloved, My fair one, My dove; yea, come” (Song 2:13).

Bowing the Mother of God replied, “Blessed is Thy name, O Lord of glory and my God, Who was pleased to choose thy humble handmaid for the service of Thy mystery. Remember me, O King of glory, in Thy eternal Kingdom. Thou knowest that I have loved Thee with all my heart and have kept the treasure entrusted to me. And now receive my soul in peace and defend me from all the snares of the dark power of Satan.”

The Lord remained by her and said,

“Behold, presently thy soul will be translated to the heavens, to the treasures of My Father in exceeding brightness, where there is peace and joy of the holy angels, and many other things. thy right hand upon me, O lord, and bless me.”

Then the Lord stretched forth his undefiled right hand and blessed His Mother.

She took His hand and kissed it, saying,

“I adore this right hand, which created the heaven and the earth and I call upon thy much to be praised name Christ, O God, the King of the ages, the Only-Begotten of the Father, to receive Thine handmaid, O thou Who didst deign to be brought forth by me, in a low estate, to save the race of men through thine ineffable dispensation; do Thou bestow thine aid upon everyone calling upon, or praying, or naming the name of thine handmaid.”

Upon hearing this the Apostles went to her feet and venerated her…. She rose and blessed the Apostles with her hand and gave gory to God…. Feeling unspeakable joy at the sight of the radiant face of her Son and Lord, the Theotokos, filled with spiritual rapture out of love for Him, surrendered her pure soul into the hands of the Lord. And the Lord stretched forth His undefiled hands and received her holy and blameless soul. She felt no pain whatsoever, but it was as if she had fallen into a sweet sleep. Whom He conceived without destroying her virginity and bore without pain, now received her soul from her pure body….

At once there began joyous angelic singing repeating the words of Gabriel; “Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed are thou among women” (Lk 1:28).

The face of the Theotokos shone like the sun and a splendid and sweet perfume emitted from her most pure body; it was a scent that is impossible to find here on earth. With piety and fear, the holy Apostles kissed the most pure body and were sanctified by contact with it.

Hymn from Matins Louds

“At a divine command the chief Apostles hastened from the ends of the earth to bury thee, and when the beheld thee taken up from earth to heaven they shouted with joy the words of Gabriel, and cried unto thee,”Rejoice, thou bearer of the divinity: Rejoice, thou who alone by thy childbirth hast brought together earthly things an things on high.”

The Life of the virgin Mary the Theotokos pp 461-465

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