Your Divinely Radiant Beauty

The Theotokos of the Sign

The Protection of the Theotokos
Protection of the Theotokos Orthodox Church
Allentown, PA

What words, O Mother of God and Virgin, can describe your divinely radiant beauty? Your qualities cannot be circumscribed by thoughts or words, for they transcend our minds and speech. But it is possible to sing your praises if you, in your charity, so permit. In you all graces are to be found. You are the perfection of nobleness in all its forms, the living portrait of every virtue and kindness. You alone were vouchsafed the gifts of the Spirit in their totality, or rather, you alone held mysteriously in your womb Him in whom are the treasures of all these spiritual gifts, and became inexplicably His tabernacle. Therefore, you were the object of His care from your infancy, even in respect of physical needs, and He paradoxically accepted you from your childhood as His companion, showing from that time forward, by means of such strange events as this, that you were the unchanging shrine of all His graces.

You were deemed worthy of much higher privileges than were granted to other men. Your birth was extraordinary, your upbringing even stranger, and your childbearing, without knowing anything of men, was yet more supremely mysterious. Whereas your birth was adorned with pledges made by God and human beings, that is to say, by your parents – for when they received His promise they rightly vowed you, the promised child, to Him in return – you yourself were also beautified with heavenly promises at various times, and enriched the whole world with them. Before long you received the tidings of Him from whom and through whom so great a promise was made (Luke 1: 26– 38), that the promises to God’s friends down through the ages which found fulfilment in you, and the great visions they beheld, seemed merely like obscure reflections and vague ideas in comparison. You alone fulfilled all their visions, surpassing our common human nature by means of your union with God, not just when you gave birth in a marvellous way, but also through the preceding fellowship with Him in everything good, which resulted from your utter purity.

Palamas, St. Gregory (2013-08-21). Mary the Mother of God: Sermons by Saint Gregory Palamas (Kindle Locations 505-520). Mount Thabor Publishing. Kindle Edition.