August 2017 Letter
As we approach St. Mary’s fast, let us benefit from an article by HG Bishop Benyamin about the pain and suffering in her life:
“Many speak about the honor of St. Mary, and the blessings and glory she received, even that Elizabeth inspired by the Holy Spirit told her: “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1: 45). St. Mary said about herself: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1: 48-49). Surely she received great glory.
“But St. Mary suffered a lot as Simon the elder prophesized by the Holy Spirit and said: “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2: 34-35). This is not strange, for the Bible promises us that suffering is the path for glory: “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Rom 8: 17). The following are some of St. Mary’s sufferings:
- She lived her childhood in the temple consecrated to the Lord, while childhood is a time for any person to enjoy fun and happiness with his parents enjoying their love. She lived her life as a typical consecrated person: away from her parents, finding joy only in the Lord, leaving the tenderness of childhood to early maturity as a preparation for being Mother of God.
- She gave birth to baby Jesus in a manger as they didn’t have a place in the house, wrapped Him with cloths as a lamb because He is the Lamb of God who carries the sins of the whole world, and placed Him in hay in the manger of lambs so when the shepherds would come they would recognize Him by this sign as indicated by the angel (Luke 2: 12).
- She obeyed the order to flee with her son, guided by Joseph the righteous as instructed by the angel (Mat 2: 12). This was a very strenuous trip, in 3 years and 11 months she moved between cities from Bethlehem to Upper Egypt, passing through Sinai, east of Delta, Lower and Upper Egypt.
- When Jesus was 12 years old, one time He stayed in Jerusalem while Joseph and Mary didn’t know, so they went a day’s journey seeking Him, and when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, and after 3 days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. When they saw Him, they were amazed; and when St. Mary blamed Him: “Son, why have You done this to us? … have sought You anxiously” He answered saying: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? (Luke 2: 41-52).
- Needless to mention her continuous worry about Him while He didn’t have a place to lay His head. Many times she wanted to see Him closely while He was busy with His mission as our redeemer and savior (Luke 8: 19-21, 11: 27).
- But her most severe suffering was to see Him crucified while He is righteous and Holy without sin. She expressed her suffering by saying: “the world rejoices in receiving salvation, while my heartburns as I look at Your crucifixion which you are enduring for the sake of all, my Son and my God”. Truly many are St. Mary’s sufferings that she endured and thus deserved the true glory.
May her holy blessings and the blessings of her fast be with us all.
Belleville, August 1, 2017