Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I will add some more to this thread later, in regards to Mariology, Our Lady in Orthodox Hymn/Worship, allegorical references in the Old Testament like the Burning Bush or the Eastern Gate in Ezekiel's vision of the Temple, but for now, I just wanted to contribute this poetry which touches my heart in regards to the role and purpose of Our Lady, Mother of God and Mother of us all..
The schools had already proved one or two points which need never have bee discussed again. In essence, religion was love; in no case was it logic. Reason can reach nothing except through the senses; God, by essence, cannot be reached through the senses; if He is to be known at all, he must be known by contact of spirit with spirit, essence with essence; directly; by emotion, by ecstasy, by absorption of our existence in his; by substitution of His Spirit for ours. The world had no need to wait five hundred years longer in order to hear this same result reaffirmed by Pascal. Saint Francis of Assisi had declared it loudly enough. The Virgin had asserted it in tones more gentle, but anyone may still see how convincing, who STOPS for a moment to FEEL the emotion that lifted Her wonderful Chartres spire up to God. The Virgin, indeed made all easy, for it was little enough she cared for reason or logic. She cared for Her Baby, a simple matter, which ANY woman could do and understand easily. That, and the Grace of God made Her the Queen of Heaven. The Trinity has its source in Her, totius Trinitatis nobile Triclinium, and She was maternity. She was also poetry and art. In the bankruptcy of reason, She alone was real." Mont Saint Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams
(this not not cut and paste, I typed this by hand from the book
There She actually is, not in symbol or in fancy, but in person, descending on her errands of mercy and listening to each one of us, as her miracles prove, or satisfying our prayers merely by her presence which calms our excitement as that of a mother calms her child. She is there as Queen, not merely as intercessor, and her power is such that to her the difference between us earthly beings is nothing. Her quiet, masculine strength enchants us most.. to peasants and beggars and people in trouble, this sense of her power and calm is better than active sympathy. People who suffer beyond the formulas of expression, who are crushed into silence and beyond pain, want no display of emotion, no bleeding heart, no weeping at the foot of the Cross, no hysterics, no phrases! They want to see God, and to know that He is watching over His own..Each of them that has looked up to Her great window and has felt actual certainty as though they saw with their own eyes, there in heaven while they looked on, their own lost ones playing with the Christ child at the Virgin's knee, as much at home there as the Saints, and much more then any kings of the earth! Before rising from their knees, everyone of these people will have bent down and kissed the stone pavement in gratitude for Mary's mercy. The earth, they say, is a sorry place and the best of it is bad enough, no doubt, even for the earthly Queens.. but there is Mary in heaven who sees and hears as we see and hear, and who keeps them all till we come! So we can wait in patience, more or less! Saints and Prophets and martyrs are very well, and Christ is very sublime and just, but Mary knows.. [/qoute]
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams
The purpose of the Virgin is to be that Mother of us all, that comforting presence, who does not necessary make all the bad things miraculously go away, but just to be in Her presence is all the calm reassurance we need. Our earthly mothers could not save us from the world, but they could make us feel saved in all moments of distress. Thus, the Virgin Mary, may not necessarily intercede for miracles or salvation directly, but surely just Her reassuring presence is enough to get through the pities of our daily routines, both the sorrows and the joys, that we make sing in joy with our Mother, or weep in strain on our Mother's breast, but always it is our Mother who comforts us in the Ever-Present Will of God. Just as our earthly mothers reminded us that the world is as it is, and God is as He is, and His Will is what it is, so do does our spiritual Mother the Virgin console us in our reality.
All of the hymns, prayers, narrations, holidays, icons, etc etc in the Holy Tradition are there to continually and tangibly convey this message, that the Virgin Mary is the true consolation of God, teaching us ever to embrace in all things His Divine Will, and forgo our own petty, selfish desires, even when they are to do good! The Virgin teaches us the humility and perseverance that our mothers on earth instill in us