August 2011 Letter
The month of August always reminds us of the Virgin Saint Mary, and the fast that is dedicated for her. On this occasion, we will recall all the words of the Virgin Mary mentioned in the Bible, and see that although they are few words, yet are very deep and full of spiritual meanings:
1) Speaking with Archangel Gabriel, who foretold the Divine conception, she mentions 2 phrases:
a) “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1: 34), asking him on the means of this conception.
b) “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38), which was her answer for his explanation.
2) Her greeting to Elizabeth; although the Bible did not mention her exact words but mentions the how Elizabeth answered the Virgin as saying: “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1: 44).
3) The praise of the Virgin Mary on her visit to Elizabeth: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever” (Luke 1: 46-55).
4) Her words to Christ at His age of twelve when the family stepped up to Jerusalem and then His parents did not find him among the relatives and acquaintances: “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously” (Luke 2: 48).
5) In the wedding at Cana of Galilee, Virgin Mary mentions a short phrase, but is full of meanings. It was because of her words that Christ made the miracle and changed the water into wine. She said to Christ: “They have no wine” (John 2: 3), then she said to the servants: “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2: 5).
May her holy blessings and the blessings of her fast be with us all. As the yearly tradition, our church will have daily vespers and hymns in the second week of her fast, and enclosed is the schedule of service.
Asking you to remember this particular issue, and also the church, priest, servants and all services always in your prayers, may the blessing of St. Mary & St. Mercurius be with us all. Amen
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, August 1, 2011