Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
The Last shall be first : true Christian Service
Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God
[Given outside of the Archdiocese]
15 August, 2009
Philippians 2:5-11 ; Luke 10:38-42 ; 11:27-28

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

On this day we are celebrating the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God which is the Patron Feast of this parish. When we are celebrating the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God, it shows that we do not doubt that she died. We can truly say that she is the first fruits of the Resurrection, also. After she died, the apostles came to her tomb. What happened ? Her tomb was empty.

In her life, the Mother of God was always obedient in every way to the will of God. From the very beginning of her life, her life consisted of saying “Yes” to the will of God. She was always trying to know the will of God and to do the will of God. By the Grace of the Holy Spirit, and by the mercy of God, she was able to do precisely this in her life. For the most part, her life was hidden. In fact, in the Gospels, there is not all that much written about her except for the most important details. Yet, even though her life was so hidden, she became, and is, the most influential of all the persons in human history and in Church life, apart from our Saviour.

Because of her humility, she has been exalted into Heaven. She is the victorious Champion and General of the angelic host. She is a protector of the faithful, and a protector of the Church. Because of her humility, she is in herself a sign of what the Church is supposed to be. Our Saviour said : “‘Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant’” (Matthew 20:26). This is precisely what happened with the Mother of God. She served God by giving birth to the Only-begotten Son of God. She serves us, and continues with her Son to serve us by praying for us, and protecting us by her prayers.

This is perhaps the most important lesson we all need to learn as we are trying to live a Christian life. The Orthodox way is not the way of the world. Our way is not to be (or try to be) greatly exalted. Our way is to serve, and do the will of God, whatever that may be. It is up to the Lord to put us in a higher position if He wants to, so that we can serve Him effectively according to His perfect knowledge of us.

Let us ask the Mother of God to give us the strength to be able to live lives that are pleasing to her Son, as her life is pleasing still to her Son. May our lives be filled with love for Jesus Christ. Thus, may we be able to shine with this love as the Mother of God shines with this love. May our lives be filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit. May our lives, through the prayers of the Mother of God, be a proclamation of Who is Jesus Christ, and glorify Him, together with the unoriginate Father, and the all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.