The Nativity of the Theotokos (2019)

“The great eighth-century liturgical poet Andrew of Crete composed a panaegyris of a feast for Mary’s Nativity (Sept. 8), which resumes ancient themes of how she recapitulates all creation in the pristine splendor God had first imagined for it. It is typical of the lofty themes that are engaged in the liturgical troparia of this era: 

‘Today there is built the created Temple of the Creator himself…

Today…Adam, offering firstfruits to the Lord for us and from us,

Selects Mary as the firstfruits on behalf of all our defiled mass.

She alone remained unspoiled.

From her the bread was made for the redemption of the human race…

Today the human race is pure and nobly born.

It receives the gift of its original and divine creation,

Returning to its former self. 

All the beauty and loveliness which had been darkened

By humanity’s birth in gloom and evil. 

Nature is now resumed in the Mother of the Supremely Beautiful, 

And at her birth it receives new shape: high exaltation and loveliness divine. 

This new shaping is restoration indeed: the restoration of our deification; 

This deification is a mirror of our original deification. 

In a word, today there is begun the transfiguration of our nature, 

And of a world that had grown old.'”

(John A. McGuckin, Illumined in the Spirit, pp. 30-31)

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