TROPARION TONE 4
Lord, Our God, Jesus Christ, on this day we are gathered to honor our mothers and first among them is Your Own Holy Mother, Mary Holy Theotokos, reminder of all that is holy and pure. May we forever honor her and keep her in our hearts.
Reading from the Gospel of Genesis
Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” She named her son Joseph.
~Chapter 30, Verses 20-24
Reading from the Gospel of Luke
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her (Elizabeth’s’) womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
~Chapter 1, Verses 39-45
Reading from the Gospel of The Acts of the Apostles
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James, son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas, son of James. They were all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
~Chapter 1, Verses 12-14
Today, we celebrate Motherhood in all its forms; in the traditional sense, that of the woman longing to for life in her womb and also those who embrace and nurture the children of others. Today we also recognize the mothering spirit demonstrated by Grandmothers, Stepmothers, Aunts, Sisters – all the women it takes to raise and nurture a child into adulthood and beyond.
In longing to be a mother, Rachel gives and shares that which is most special to her – as a means to insure the creation of a family, all the while raising the children of other women. Her sacrifice is recognized by God and she is blessed with a special child of her own that will foretell the coming of the Messiah.
The bond between mothers of all ages is where we first see the Holy Spirit pass between Christ and John the Baptist. Elizabeth in her advanced age, after years of faithful service to her husband, a holy priest, is pregnant and her niece Mary, a young mother and bride calls upon her immediately when the angel Gabriel gives her (Mary) the news. The calling together of women in the special time of pregnancy is forever marked as sacred in this act.
In Acts we discover that Mary the Mother of Christ is among those anointed and tasked with the apostles to build the Church of Christ after His Ascension. Together they will bring the Holy teachings and words of Christ to the known world. Mary will stay with Christ’s closest followers and do what is asked of her until the day of her falling asleep (dormition) in the Lord. She fulfills a call to service well beyond the physical needs of her children.
In whatever ways and means one becomes a mother, the sacred task is the same. To raise and love in body and spirit all of the children of God. In honoring Motherhood, we fulfill a commandment and prepare the next generations to remember and teach the Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty found in every mother. Let us call upon The Holy Theotokos together:
Blessed and Holy Theotokos, we call upon you and ask that you to accept our supplications on behalf of all the mothers throughout the world. Give rest to those who are gone to heavenly rest with you. Grant those who are still with us joy in the remembrance of their motherhood. Forgive us if we failed at any time in our life to offer them the honor and the respect this sacred charge is due, as we are called to do.
May we remember to help and support all mothers in their mission to always be a good role model to new mothers. May mothers of the world be one village of sisters. Strengthen those that are single mothers that they may find their sisters for guidance. Help those who have children of special needs, comfort the hearts and souls of those mothers who have lost their children. Be an aid to those who are unable to become mothers whatever the reason might be, be everything to everyone, you are The Mother of the World. Teach us that each day should be a special day to remember and honor our mothers and women who treat us with motherly love. Accept our praises and thanksgivings offered to you as our Spiritual Mother, along with the Eternal Father and your All Holy and Life Giving Spirit. Amen.