11th Sunday of Matthew (Handing Back of the Dormition of the Mother of God)

23 August 2020

‘The grave and death did not hold the Mother of God, our unshakeable hope, unsleeping in prayers and protection’ [kontakio for the feast].

Nine days have passed since the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the holy hymnographer again reaffirms his faith in the miraculous event when we sing ‘The grave and death did not hold the Mother of God, our unshakeable hope, unsleeping in prayers and protection’.

This is why we, too, as faithful children of Our Lady Mother, also hasten to venerate her grace, to express our love and gratitude towards her and to entrust to her maternal love all the petitions and longings of our soul and of our life.

We have recourse to her grace in the faith and certainty that even ‘in dormition’ Our Most Holy Lady ‘did not abandon the world’. She is always among us, while, at the same time being present at the celestial throne of her Son. She listens to the petitions of our souls and prays for us without ceasing.

Today, to those near and far, to all those who question and doubt, we reaffirm our faith in this wondrous event: that Our Lady left the world not in order to abandon us but to fulfill her mission as ‘the bridge leading those from earth to heaven’.

Our Lady fell asleep in the Lord and her body was buried. But she wasn’t found in her grave, because, according to the tradition of the Church, her Son Himself transferred her from earth to heaven, granting her eternal rather than earthly life. In this way, Our Lady became for all of us mortals the proof positive of the eternal life which awaits us, the proof positive that dying does not bring those who believe in Christ to perdition and death, but leads to life with Christ, where there is no sorrow, no pain, no sighing.

Our Lady fell asleep, but from the day of her glorious Dormition she has remained ever-vigilant in order to take care of our needs, to intercede at the throne of God for our salvation.

In any case, the whole of Our Lady’s life was a continuous intercession on our behalf. From the wedding in Cana until the day of Christ’s crucifixion, she was always at His side, a silent but eloquent intercessor on our behalf. Because, if by giving birth to Christ, Our Lady made the Son of God intimate with us, with her Dormition she made us intimate with God, offering herself not just one time, but continuously, in the service of the plan of divine dispensation for the redemption of humankind.

And in order to make this contribution of hers more tangible, more specific, she has given us her holy icons, so that we can feel her close to us, see her with our human eyes, touch her, embrace her, tell her our pain and feel the balm of her comfort and consolation in our soul and in our life.

She has also given us the holy churches which are the dwelling-places of her grace, her earthly residences, just as her body and soul were home to God Who cannot be encompassed. And our Lady gave them to us to be places where can meet her, our Mother, to be the home where we can always find her and tell her our pain, but also our joy; where can ask for her grace, but also say thank you for everything she’s given us. They’re places we can seek refuge in, as in an other earthly paradise, and where we can desire to be with her in the true paradise of the Kingdom of Heaven.

My friends, those of us who desire life, who desire paradise- and I don’t believe there’s anyone who doesn’t desire life or paradise- should have recourse to the Mother of Life. Let us flee to the spiritual, fragrant paradise, to Our Lady and let us entreat her to make us sharers in the eternal life and paradise which she herself enjoys, together with the angels and the All-Holy Trinity through all ages.