Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple (2010)

“The life of the Mother of God more fully discloses the secrets of the prayer of the heart.  Gregory of Palamas (1296-1359) developed a beautiful homily on the Presentation in the Temple, in which Mary enters the space of unceasing prayer.  In the Orthodox Church, the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple is celebrated on November 21.  The feast signifies the coincidence, or rather, the passage from the temple made by human hand to the temple “not made by human hand”—precisely, the Mother of God herself, who carries within the divine Word.  Mary is called to become the sanctuary and the temple of God.

According to St Gregory Palamas, Mary, from her entry into the temple, served her apprenticeship in prayer:  first the traditional prayer to Yahweh, then the prayer to the Son after the archangel revealed the Name of Jesus.  From the Annunciation onward, Mary’s entire movement of the heart tended between prayer to God and prayer to the one she carried within her, whose name she knew and murmured in a motherly way—the one to be born, Jesus.  In this manner, Mary gradually learned the meaning of her own motherhood by being at the same time turned completely toward her Son and toward God.  In her, the Name of Jesus and the Name of God blended.  The entire mystery of Mary lies in the unceasing and loving invocation of these two names.  Through the grace of the Spirit whose breath penetrated her, these names carried the presence of the Father and the presences of the Son.”  (Bobrinskoy, Boris The Compassion of the Father, pg 103)