Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mother of God ~ Joy of All Who Sorrow ~ July23




HERE IS THE WONDER-WORKING ICON of the Mother of God ~ Joy of all Who Sorrow. Some icons have more than one day of remembrance. This July feast remembers a church which housed the icon being struck by lighting and burning to the ground ~ the icon remaining safe and sound. 


We all have moments of rescue or safe-keeping and we turn around, even stunned, looking for a place to put our surprised gratitude.  We might keep the image of the icon on file in our minds ~ Mary in a super-abundant garden. Is she doing a little dance-for-joy on her red platform? Even the sun and moon and all the plant world have gotten in on the celebration of thanks. 

We see angels with little shout-outs, expressions of gratitude offered up by the faithful ~ happy recipients of favors. We might take up our own place before the icon and call to mind some time of joy restored ~ when we were pulled up out of sorrow and restored to a happier place.

But what about the others - the families of those who lost loved ones on the downed Malaysian flight, or the displaced residents of Gaza and those who mourn the loss of their children to rocket fire? This is impossible to answer. Wherever there are human beings, there is sin. And sin gets in the way of God's purposes.

A nun who lived through the Nazi occupation of France told me, "Then, we had each other, you can't count on that today." But there still are places on the earth where people find their joy and gratitude in the presence of each other, however great the losses. And there are still people whose believing holds them up in a tempest-tossed world.

Here's the Troparion-prayer for the icon's feast.


For those in great sorrow, you are joy,
for the oppressed, a protector,
for the hungry, their food
and comfort for the estranged.

You are a staff for the blind,
visitation for all the sick, 
to those held by pain,
shelter and comforting
and to the orphan, an aid.

Mother of God in the highest,
You who are the spotless one, 
hasten, save your servants from their fears.

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