We honor the Theotokos as the mother of the Church because she is the mother of Jesus, and we are His Body. The Archangel Gabriel came to her with an unheard-of announcement: that she would become the mother of the “Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32), although she had not known a man. Despite her inability to understand God’s plan, and yet because of her love for God and her belief that she was the handmaiden of the Lord, she immediately said “yes.” She is, therefore, the example for all Christians as we respond to God’s call and claim on our lives.
Every day we must say “yes” to God and “no” to anything that pulls us away from Christ and His Church. We strive to be more “sheep” than “goat,” and to honor God in our obedience. We look to the Mother of God and all of the Saints, that “great cloud of witnesses”1 that have gone before us to show us the way. Remembering that they are not in some far-off realm of the departed, but that we participate with them in the one Church, we entrust ourselves and our departed loved ones to their care.
All of our lives, ours and those who have gone before, are in Christ’s hands. He loves us so relentlessly that he took up his throne on the Cross, so that we, like the thief, we might be with him in paradise. Therefore, St. Paul says to the Romans, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom 13:10-11).
Hebrews 12:1 ↩