Saturday, July 28, 2018

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): The Fast of Our Lady and the Marian Spirit

Arabic original here.

The Fast of Our Lady and the Marian Spirit

Fasting in general is the emptying of the soul and the body of everything that comes to them from sin. Emptying the stomach of food is an image of liberating the soul from passions and lusts.

The Fast of Our Lady is tied to Great Lent, that is, the Fast of Our Lord.

The Lord Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights and after that He confronted the devil and defeated him by the power of the word. This is also what Our Lady the Virgin Mary did when she listened to the word of God, pondering it in her heart and acting according to it (cf. Luke 2:19, 8:21 and 10:39).

The Fast of Our Lady is an apostolic institution. Saint Theodore the Studite calls it the Holy Fast of the Mother of God. Believers who love Our Lady and her virtues practice it just as they practice Great Lent. Some zealous ones even from fire! In any case, those who love the Mother of God, Mary, love the Lord Jesus, her son and her God, and study His word, keep it in their heart and act according to it in their life.

The Fast of Our Lady is tied to the Marian spirit, the virginal spirit attached to God and His word. It is the pure, unblemished spirit.

Mary is both mother and virgin. Mary the mother is the model for every pure human, in whom Christ is begotten and from whom He goes out into the world. Purity is that we do not accept within ourselves anything other than the divine seed.

The fast is accompanied by a special prayer to Our Lady that is called the Paraklisis. It is a special supplication addressed to Our Lady and from her to the Lord by virtue of a mother's boldness to her son and her God.

The Church is the mystical body of Christ. In this body, the Mother of God still practices the intercession that she performed on earth, as at the wedding at Cana in Galilee. She is the unfailing intercessor.

In the service of the Small Paraklisis we say, "Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty" (Psalm 44/45:10-11).

Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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