The Most Holy Theotokos as an Example for us

Excerpt from “A Homily on the Dormition of the Mother of God” (1998) by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica (Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives) 
 
 
We
have many examples by which we can learn. The Lord gave us first of all
the Most Holy Theotokos. It was His will that the Most Holy Theotokos
remain with the holy Apostles to comfort and encourage them after His
Resurrection and Ascension. One of the God‑bearing Fathers, a native of
Athens, St. Dionysios the Areopagite, wished to see the Most Holy Mother
of God. When he arrived in Jerusalem, they took him to the home of St.
John the Theologian, where the Most Holy Theotokos lived. When he
entered her chamber, he was at once free of all cares and worries and
was overcome with ineffable joy and peace. This is how he describes his
meeting with the Most Holy Theotokos: “Had I not learned in my Youth
about the True God, for me the Most Holy Theotokos would have been God.”

See
what peace, stillness, and joy radiate from the Most Holy Theotokos!
God has allowed peace and joy to radiate from every soul that is one
with Him. Divine peace and joy emanate from such a person and we feel
good in his presence. Do you see what the Kingdom of Heaven means? The
Kingdom of God is… righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit
(Rom. 14: 17).
The
Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly,. She is always
visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After
the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind. How many churches
there are in the world that are dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of
God! How many healing springs where people are cured of their ailments
have sprung up in places where the Most Holy Theotokos appeared and
blessed those springs to heal both the sick and the healthy! She is
constantly, by our side, and all too often we forget her.
You
have seen that in this life anyone, even our closest of kin, can
abandon us. We all have our weaknesses and often hurt the people closest
to us. They can turn their backs on us because of our rudeness, or they
can forgive us but still be hurt. But the Lord and His Most Holy Mother
… Oh, how many times have we insulted God and the Most Holy
Theotokos, but when we repent and turn to them in our hearts, they
forgive us everything, never remembering our sins and evil deeds!
 
 
 And
so, my children, as we celebrate the great feast day of the Most Holy
Theotokos, let us prepare ourselves for the heavenly life, let us teach
our hearts to always long for God as the angels do, and for the Most
Holy Theotokos, for she is our Intercessor and prays unceasingly for us
weak ones before the throne of her Son. Whenever we turn to her in our
hearts, she is always there to help. Countless are those on this earth
whom she has comforted, and countless are the souls she has led from the
depths of hades to the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us, therefore, learn to
become accustomed to the Heavenly Kingdom while we are still in this
life. The Heavenly Kingdom is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We need
to humble our hearts, which take insults so deeply, and also our
so‑called dignity, for we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven in pride,
as when we take to heart each slander our neighbor casts. We must accept
our lessons from everyday life, for each day brings us cares, worries,
and insults. We must learn not to take insults to heart, for who knows
what awaits us during the course of our earthly lives? God is merciful
to us and has concealed our future from us. Otherwise, not one among us
would be able to go on, knowing what the future holds for him. We must
live through many misfortunes and sorrows in order to learn how to rise
above all these problems that disturb our inner peace. We must learn to
acquire the Divine peace and joy of the angels and saints, for the
Kingdom of Heaven is acquired while we are still in this life.
 
(I read this this morning and thought I was going to have to transcribe it but found this transcription online. Thanks to Dcn. Charles Joiner for doing the hard part!)

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