The Greatest Sorrow
The month of August is known otherwise as the month of Panagia. It is the month of her Dormition and her Ascension, for the Mother of our Lord truly ascended and was enthroned upon her heavenly throne, next to the majestic throne of her Son. Thus, becoming the queen of the heavens, the joy of the angels, the boast of the Apostles, jubilation of the Martyrs, glory and honour of the Saints, and for us, our hope and protection and unceasing mediator.
She mediates because she cares. She cares because she is our mother and the mother of our Lord. She too suffered much in her life and was greatly tempted, but her purity, patience and humility overcame all temptations. She was left an orphan at a young age, she faced the possibility of becoming a single mother due to the suspicions of Joseph (in a time when women were second-class citizens), she gave birth under difficult circumstances in a cave in the middle of winter, she became a refugee in a foreign country to flee from the manic insecurities of Herod, and having returned she lived having no luxuries in Nazareth. Furthermore, after accompanying her Son in His ministry across the rough countryside, she witnessed His unjust trial and humiliating passion. Finally, she was heartbroken at the foot of the Cross seeing her innocent child suffer a slow asphyxiating death as though He were a criminal.
She truly felt the greatest pain a mother could feel simply because no other mother before or after her would ever raise a child like Jesus – full of virtue, always obedient, submitting to her in all things. This pain is captured in the icon of Panagia Thrinodousa (pictured; Gr. Θρηνώ – to mourn). But the greatest sorrow that Our Lady the Theotokos feels is when she is unable to help those who need her most, the people who do not appreciate the magnitude and significance of the sacrifice her Son made for them.
Most people walk the path paved by the enemy of mankind – willingly or unwillingly. They are seduced by his prideful flatteries, lustful desires and materialistic indulgences, most being completely unaware or ignorant of Satan’s grasp on their soul. And so, while they refuse to accept it with their mind, their works, acts and deeds clearly indicate who they honour and to whose will they remain blindly obedient. Thus, having rejected Christ as Lord and Saviour, the intercessions of the Theotokos for such people remain fruitless – this being the cause of her greatest sorrow.
Once again, we celebrate the Feast of the Dormition. Once again, we have the opportunity to come near to the icon of Panagia and implore her to forgive us for the pain we have caused her and her Son. To repent and run to confession, to attend a Paraklisi service and to make that necessary change which is bringing Panagia so much sorrow. Let us therefore make the most of the time we have before us to sweeten her glance, resting assured that her intercessions will bring us many joyful blessings.
Source: Lychnos August / September 2017