Author Topic: Understanding the liturgy on Mary  (Read 975 times)

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Offline Specs

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Understanding the liturgy on Mary
« on: March 25, 2008, 04:46:42 PM »
How does an Orthodox Christian understand phrases in the liturgy on the Theotokos such as "we have you as our only hope" or "our sole salvation and our sole hope"? And this one "we now entreat and implore you, loving Mother of God, on behalf of us who have sinned and are in despair, to make your Son and Lord merciful; for by using your mother’s boldness you have this power."?

« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 04:52:52 PM by Specs »

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Understanding the liturgy on Mary
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2008, 04:58:38 PM »
How does an Orthodox Christian understand phrases in the liturgy on the Theotokos such as "we have you as our only hope" or "our sole salvation and our sole hope"? 

There are a number of ways in which those phrases (and others, like "Most Holy Theotokos, save us" apply -

- As the Mother of our Lord, she helped bring Salvation and true Hope into the world.
- As a good and faithful disciple, she was an excellent example to us of Christian living
- As a person in the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Lord's Mother to boot, she is able to intercede with her son on our behalf, with whom she showed much influence and willingness to pray while He was alive and living amongst humankind.  If He respected her and hearkened to her in this life, how much more can we expect in the Life and Kingdom to come?

The sense of urgency comes from our perpetual state of sin and the sense that death can come at every time.  Since we do not know how much time we have left on this Earth to repent and turn back to the Lord, we entreat the Theotokos with urgent language, calling her "our only hope," or calling out to her as if we were drowning in the Sea of our sins, "Most Holy Theotokos, save us!"  Our Salvation only comes from God - but through birthgiving and raising our Lord, she was the chosen vessel for this Salvation to come into the world.
"If you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon Him and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord and He will help you. Walk straight in His ways and put your hope in Him. " Sir 2:1-6

Offline Specs

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Re: Understanding the liturgy on Mary
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2008, 05:38:37 PM »
Thank you cleaveland. How does one reply to objections against the "only" in "our only hope"?