Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh


7 April 1989

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

This year the Feast of the Annunciation, according to our calendar, falls just at the end of the week when we venerate the Cross. And perhaps is it particularly significant, because you remember the words which were spoken to the Mother of God when She brought Her Child, Jesus, to the Temple: that a sword will pass Her heart, a sword will pierce Her heart. This sword was the death of Christ upon the Cross. And to see at the same time the promise of Salvation given to the whole of mankind, — indeed, the promise that one day God will be all in all, and that the whole Creation will become the shining, glorious vestment of God — on that day we see also the Cross above the Annunciation.

Let us reflect on this conjunction of events. The Mother of God received today the greatest promise which mankind can receive. At the same time, in Her perfect surrender: Let it be unto me according to His will! — in this perfect surrender She accepts the tragedy that will follow. We are saved by Her faith, we are saved by Her surrender; without Her the Incarnation would have not taken place — but at what cost to Her.

And this is why it could be said once that if the Mother of God can forgive us our unfaithfulness, our betrayal of Christ, a life unworthy of the faith which we proclaim — if She can forgive us, no power in Heaven or earth can reject us. And this is why we pray to Her, and say, All-Holy Mother of God, save us!.. Not because She can save us apart from the sacrificial love, the Incarnation, the life, the death, the descent into hell, the Resurrection, the Ascension of Her Son, the Only-Begotten Son of God become the son of man; not because She can plead for us, but She can, in the very words of Christ at the Cross, say, Forgive! They do not know what they are doing...

But it is not enough to be forgiven: one must bear fruit of repentance. If we understand at what cost we are forgiven by God: the life and the death of His Only-Begotten Son, at what cost the Mother of God can intercede for us: the surrender of Her life but also the gift unto death of Her Only-Begotten Son, gratitude alone should prompt us to be worthy of this love, to be worthy of God, worthy of Mary the Virgin, worthy of our own selves... Because God's gift of self to us, Mary's gift of Him to us speaks to us of our eternal, immeasurable value in the eyes of God,

Let us therefore venerate worshipfully the event; and respond, respond with all our life, all our heart and mind, all there is in and of us to the trust which God has put into us. Because He gave His life for us, She surrendered to God for us, She gave Him unto death for us because God believes in us, because God hopes all things from us — let us respond to Him with all our life. Amen.

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