Christ is Risen!
Thy Resurrection, O Christ, our Savior, the angels in heaven sing, enable us on earth to glorify Thee in purity of heart!
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The first chapter of St. Luke's gospel contains an outstanding hymn by the holy Theotokos, which poured out of her heart in response to the salutation of her relative, the righteous Elizabeth: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. This Elizabethan prophecy, that we repeat so often in one of our most favorite prayers Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, was followed by Mary's hymn, Mary's prayerful prophesy, which is especially important for our attention on the day of her glorious Dormition.
And Mary said: 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.' From her childhood her entire life was dedicated to God. Her very birth from the childless and elderly parents was a miraculous one. From her infancy her home was the Temple, where she was presented at the age of three years, and was totally dedicated to God. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced the will of God, telling her that the Son of God was to be born of her. In an act of voluntary humility and loving obedience, she accepted on behalf of the whole of humanity this good news, this good will of God concerning her...
Very often, we tend to perceive summer as leisure time, and unfortunately, we include our spiritual life in this. We tend to lay back spiritually and "take it easy." This is most obviously reflected in our diminished attendance at church services. And we are probably also less alert in our ascetic efforts: praying, fasting, spiritual reading, charitable works...
This, perhaps, can be somewhat explained by the fact that there are no major Church feasts between the great festival of Pentecost and the majestic celebration of Christ's Transfiguration on August 6. But, if we glance at the summer pages of the Church calendar, we will find some important things for us.
The first Sunday after Pentecost is dedicated to the memory of All Saints. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ's disciples, thus baptizing the Holy Church. The presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested by its fruits. Saints are those who bore these fruits, in every generation they were well pleasing to God; therefore, it is very logical to celebrate their memory immediately after the Feast of Pentecost ...