The Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God
The holy Virgin Mary was born of her aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the tribe of David and her mother of the tribe of Aaron, and so she was of royal blood from her father and priestly blood from her mother. By this, she foreshadowed Him who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were already old and had no children, and, because of this, were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility, they prayed with tears that God would bring joy to their old age with the gift of a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and Sarah, giving them their son Isaac. God, almighty and all-seeing, gave them a joy far exceeding all their expectations and their wildest dreams, for He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God; He illuminated them not only with temporal joy, but with eternal. God gave them just one daughter, who later gave them only one grandson - but what a daughter and what a grandson! Mary, full of grace, blessed among women, the temple of the holy spirit, altar of the living God, table of living bread, ark of God's holy things, tree of the most delicious fruits, glory of the human race, praise of womanhood, fount of virginity and purity - this was the daughter given by God to Joachim and Anna. Born in Nazareth, she was taken after three years to the Temple in Jerusalem, whence she returned again to Nazareth and shortly afterwards heard the tidings of the holy Archangel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, from her most pure and virginal body.
St. Dionysius the Areopagite writes of the immeasurable joy, the outer and inner radiance and the indescribable fragrance that he sensed in the presence of the Holy Mother of God when he visited her in Jerusalem. In his enthusiasm, he says that if he did not acknowledge the one, true God, he would acknowledge her, the holy Virgin Mary, as God. The holy Virgin made such a strong and deep impression even during her earthly life, and she received an incomparably greater power after her physical death when, by God's will, she was exalted above the hosts of angels. Her power comes from her ceaseless prayer to God for the faithful, for all who turn to her for help. As she was in travail at the crucifixion of her Son, so she is in travail for all the weak who turn to her for help. It can be said that the whole earth is protected by the miracles of her mercy. There lived in Belgrade a cafe proprietor, C.J., born in the village of Labunishte near Struga, whose mother took him, blind, to the monastery of Klaishto and where, after the priest had prayed over him before the icon of the holy Mother of God, he had received his sight. The first monk at Pochaev saw a flaming pillar stretching from earth to heaven, and in this flaming pillar he saw the holy Mother of God. She was standing on a rock, and a healing spring arose at that spot, and today gives healing to many of the sick.