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Wonders of the Small Church

The small church has incredible importance and value, although it may not carry the pomp of churches in Europe and elsewhere. I have one particular small church in mind: ours.

Annunciation of Mary
Annunciation of Mary
Annunciation of Mary
The Feast of Annunciation is one of four Theotokian feasts the Orthodox Church celebrates during the liturgical year. It is perhaps the most beautiful.

Annunciation reveals that each baptized and chrismated person can also become an active participant in their salvation, as the Mother of God actively chose to be involved in hers as well. Her conscious and deliberate ‘yes’ to the will of God begins her path towards eternal life. Her ‘yes’ to the Archangel’s pronouncement, her Son’s subsequent miracle birth nine months later, thus makes it possible for each person to achieve eternal life. By being obedient and humble, Mary becomes the living icon of who and what each person should be.

Ultimately, what we learn from Mary is just so difficult for us to embrace. Her life was built on surrender, self-offering, and sacrifice. This frightens us because there is a cost involved. Our culture perceives surrender as a sign of weakness. We are constantly reminded to battle, to never give up or even retreat. We might even consider dying on our sword if necessary.

But we must surrender completely, and be ready to pronounce our own ‘yes’ to God as Mary does, in order to come to the knowledge of God, and to live in perfect union with him. If we do not surrender and say ‘yes’, then our life becomes separated from God to some degree.

We take great consolation in knowing Mary is the mother of all believers. She is full of grace, and the Lord is with her. And finally, we are greatly comforted to know that she always protects those who honor her.

Fr Marc Vranes
Feast of Annunciation, 2012
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