Discourse on the Deposition & Veneration of the Holy Belt of Ever-Virgin Mary – 2

1 September 2018

And you, All-Pure and All-Good and Most-Merciful Lady, the consolation of Christians, the fervent comfort of those in distress, the immediate refuge of sinners, do not abandon us as orphans, without your divine assistance. For if you do abandon us, where shall we turn? And what will become of us, you who are the breath and life of Christians? Just as our bodies breathe as an indication that we’re alive, so the invocation of your name by your servants, at all times and in all places, is not merely an indication of, but an invitation to life, joy and assistance. Shelter us under the wings of your goodness. Guard us with your intercessions.

Agia_Zoni

Give us eternal life, you who are the enduring and incontrovertible hope of Christians. Because we, who are poor in divine works and in proper behaviour, seeing the wealth of your kindness towards us, say: “The earth is full of the mercy of God”. We who, because of the multitude of our sins, have wandered far from God, pleaded with Him and found your help. And, since we’ve found Him, we’re saved. Since your aid is sufficient for salvation, Mother of God, we need no other intercessor before God. We know this and experience has taught us. We have often asked things of you, who are a swift helper, and have received your abundant gifts in answer.

And now we, your own people, your own inheritance, your own flock, that is we Christians, who have the honour to bear the name of your Son, hasten to you. Because your magnificence knows no bounds. There is no exhausting the abundance of your aid. Your blessings are innumerable. No-one is saved unless by the help of Our Most Holy Lady. No-one escapes torments unless through you, All-Pure One. No-one receives forgiveness freely unless through you, All-Blessed One. Who will not praise you for all this? Who will not glorify you? Not as you deserve, it is true, but most willingly. You who are glorified, you who are replete with blessedness, to whom your Son gave great and awe-inspiring magnificence, who, for all these reasons, all generations will hymn and call blessed.

          Who else, apart from your Son, cares for the human race as you do? And who shares our sorrows as you do? Who preserves us from imminent temptations as you do? Who hears our supplications and defends sinners? Who gives such great support to inveterate sinners? Since you have maternal boldness and strength as regards your Son, you both save and deliver from eternal damnation with your prayers and intercessions us, who are condemned because of our sins, who do not dare to gaze upon the heights of the heavens. This is why those who are distressed have recourse to you, why those who suffer injustice run to you, and those who are surrounded by disaster seek your help. Everything that is yours is beyond human comprehension.

Everything is supernatural, everything is beyond human reason and power and for this reason your protection is beyond our understanding. Because you have reconciled to your Son the strays, the persecuted and the harassed and have made them sons and heirs. To those who are floundering every day in their sins, you stretch out a hand and save them from the billows. You repel the attacks of the Evil One against your servants and save them by the mere invocation of your name. Most Pure Lady, you deliver all who call upon you from every necessity and temptation. This why we hasten eagerly to your church and, when we’re there, think ourselves in heaven. Inside it, when we glorify you, we think we’re hymning you with the angels.

Which other generation of people, other than Christians, has enjoyed such glory, has gained such great assistance and such great protection? Who, beholding with faith your honourable belt, Mother of God, is not immediately filled with joy and contentment? Who has ever venerated it and gone away without an answer to a request? Who, gazing upon your icon does not immediately forget all sorrow? We who have come to the church you have chosen to receive your belt, the deposition of which we are celebrating, cannot describe the joy, delight and enjoyment of which we have been deemed worthy.

          But, Mother of God, you are the pitcher from which we, who are all tormented by miseries, have drunk the cooling manna. Mother of God, you are the table from which we, who are starved, have eaten our fill of the bread of life. Mother of God, you are the lamp who has illumined with abundant light of all of us who sat in darkness. You, Mother of God, have from God the acclaim you deserve and which befits you. Do not reject our own unworthy praise, which we offer you gladly. Do not rebuff  the words of supplication which come from unworthy lips. But rather, you who have been glorified by God, when you have weighed our desire, grant us forgiveness of our sins, the enjoyment of eternal life and deliverance from all harm.

Look down, Mother of God, from your holy dwelling, upon your people who regard you as Lady, Protectress and Maiden. We have gathered to hymn you from our hearts and, when you have cast your gaze upon us, deliver us for all disaster and sorrow, all sickness and harm, and ward off all temptation. Fill us with every joy, healing and grace. And, when we shall all be judged, at the coming of your Son, our God Who loves mankind, with your power and the boldness you have as His Mother, deliver us from the eternal torments and make us worthy of attaining the eternal good things, through the grace and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who was born from you, and to Whom belong glory and power now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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