The Mother of Life
While most people ponder over what the meaning of life is, they tend to lose focus of what life is and where it comes from. Some say it is precious or is a gift, others say it is complicated and has its ups and downs; however, these accounts are too vague and superficial. When God created man the Scriptures say that He “breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7).
Our life originates from God Himself, as God lives, so too we receive life and we draw our existence from Him. Nevertheless, we cannot speak of life without speaking of death. Death as we know it is the tragic result of sin which was realised when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s commandment. Sin caused an existential failure that affected their very human nature, spiritually disconnecting them from the divine source of life. This disconnection spread biologically to all of mankind through birth, and thus, death crept into creation.
So then, if disobedience caused death, it was fitting that obedience would bring re-birth. This was achieved by the Incarnation, life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (the new Adam). He was born, not of a man and woman, but by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Born miraculously without seed, he did not inherit the “original sin”, and living without sin, Death had no power over Him. So when He took upon Himself the sins of the world and died on the Cross, He disrupted the stronghold of Death over us.
In this synergy wherein God and Man worked out our salvation and gave us a fresh breath of life, the ever-virgin Mary (the new Eve) was also obedient to God, humbly accepting to become the mother of our Lord. In so doing she gave us “the bread of life… that one may eat of it and not die” (John 6:48-50). He nurtures us with His immortal body and becomes Life personified, assuring us that “whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (John 6:54).
It is proper then to call His mother the Mother of Life, for He received His flesh from her flesh and His blood from her blood, and thus was able to make a new covenant for the remission of sins and eternal life. Was it ever possible then that her life would be given over to Death, or that the Earth would contain the body of her who is “Wider than the Heavens”, or that she who is “more honourable than the Cherubim and incomprehensibly more glorious than the Seraphim” would suffer corruption?
At the feast of the Dormition, we are reminded that life is more than a simple measure of happiness. Sure, it may be hard at times, but all is possible when God is present. This is precisely what Panagia teaches us. She was a bride yet unwedded, a mother yet a virgin, a mere mortal yet the mother of God, and now in this feast, she died and yet lives. What we sow in this life is what we shall reap in the next, and the Mother of Life shows us how to harvest eternal life.
Source: Lychnos August/September 2018