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Third Sunday of the Great Lent - Adoration the Holy Cross

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 1:26-38)


Today is the fountainhead of our salvation and the manifestation of the mystery which was from eternity. The Son of God becometh the Virgin's Son, and Gabriel proclaimeth the good tidings of grace; wherefore, we also cry to the Theotokos with him: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee..

What Does the Feast of the Annunciation of the Most-Holy Theotokos Teach Us?

Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)

Such was the principal rule of the life of the most-blessed Virgin Mary.  Thus did she feel and speak, and not only when the Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God, but throughout her entire life. Having once and for all devoted herself to the Lord, she drew from that very devotion to God’s will, the courage and strength to endure all her sorrows, an unshakeable resolve, and steadfastness to submit to His will and to obey all of the Lord’s Commandments.

Such complete dedication to the Lord should be the virtue that is first and foremost in every follower of the Savior.  The Lord said of Himself, “…I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father, which hath sent Me…” (John 5:30), and He concluded his final prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane with the words “...nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt…” (Matthew 26:39) Such complete devotion to God, devotion that is the fruit of total, selfless, love toward Him, is the fundamental basis of Christian life, the finest adornment to the soul. In that complete dedication to God lies the source of ultimate consolation and strengthening in all of the difficulties we encounter in life.

Holy devotion to the Lord engenders steadfastness and keeps one from turning away from the path God’s providence has revealed.  One who is truly dedicated to the Lord follows without deviation the path upon which the Lord has placed him.  For one devoted to God, any station in life, be it exalted or lowly, is a path to life eternal, is a means toward obeying God’s holy will.

One who is devoted to God fears nothing in life.  He knows that we brought nothing with us into this world, and that upon our departure from the world, we cannot take anything out of it.  He knows that sooner or later, we will have to leave all of our earthly acquisitions here, on this side of the grave.  He knows that every loss we have suffered for the Lord here will be returned one hundred fold there, where nothing is temporal and changeable, where everything is eternal and immutable.

Such is the marvelous power of true, utter devotion to the will of God.  It desires nothing on earth, and fears nothing earthly. Not seeking after  anything, it is incapable of losing anything.  It leaves everything for the sake of the Lord, and in so doing, finds the Lord Himself.  Let us also strive to acquire this truly holy and great virtue of the Most-blameless Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord.  Let us follow her along this path of complete devotion to the will of God.  By her prayers, she will bring us into the joy of her Son and our God.

Archpriest Victor Potapov, April 2013

A Sermon on the Occasion of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos (St. John of Kronstadt)

Annunciation. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh.

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