As many, having bent their knees and crossed themselves went forward to kiss the Icon of St. Anna, with her full aroma present, unfaded on the Icon, they formulated prayers for themselves and their loved ones.
Present with us in the middle of the church, in front of the Royal Doors, having been placed on a huge wooden stand, during our Great Vesper Service and Liturgy, one would send up and additional prayer, for something or someone, that they had forgotten when standing in front of her, to venerate her Icon.
It occurred to me, that many were called by "her" to be there. She didn't come without intention, no she came to answer the prayers of the faithful. She came as a beacon of hope. No matter what or how you suffer, it is not eternal, if you place your "faith in the Son of God", her grandson, Jesus.
The greatest healing you can have, is for your "blind eyes" to be opened to receive the truth, which leads to salvation, or healing, and everlasting life.
As all came and kissed the Icon, some forgot that there were two saints presented to us on the wood. The opened case displayed a relic, in containment, on the sleeve of the Blessed and Ever Virgin, Mother of God, the daughter of St. Anna, the Theotokos.
Icons are theologically written according to the truth they represent. It presents to us a glimpse of heaven. Both saints are wearing jeweled crowns, and St. Anna embraces her daughter, the Virgin Mary around her neck, explosing one hand, raised to honor her. Indicating to us the way that we must go. She is indicating that salvation comes to us, through her daughter, the Ever Virgin Theotokos, who is the Birthgiver of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.
Icons , unlike a statue, have colors which depict human tones, showing us association, in proper ranking, as this Icon does, and much more. I asked several people, "was it Anna holding the Virgin Mary, or was the Virgin Mary holding Anna? (Funny how they hadn't noticed that.) Virgin Mary, holds the smaller person presented to us in this Icon, her Mother Anna, in a very loving embrace. It wouldn't be that way "ever" in an ordinary artistic painting, or photograph. We all are given a measure of faith, like babies, growing in knowledge and understanding that comes to us by instruction and the Word of God, through the Orthodox Church.
The people kissed the mystically-given, myrrh-streaming Icon, without having concern over the fact that it was not being wiped off in between, not having a care for germs, as one recalls, it once was such a "hot" topic on face book. Nor, was receiving Communion, (the Body and Blood of Christ), from the spoon. Anna came to hear, and take away our pain and suffering, by her intercession, and not to give infirmity. In "faith" we approached, reverently, as we should always approach the Holy, knowing that they are powerful intercessors, and that we are asking for favors and miracles. Anna was the receipient of a great miracle of her own, as her Troparion tell us.
TROPION TO ST. ANNA (tone 4)
"O godly, ever-blessed Anna,
You bore the pure Mother of God
Who conceived Him who is our life.
You have now passed to heaven
And are rejoicing in Glory.
Asking forgiveness for those who faithfully honor you.
Today the bonds of barrenness are broken
God has heard the prayers of Joacheam and Anna
He has promised them beyond all their hopes,
to bear the Maiden of God.
By whom the Uncircumscribed One
was born as mortal man
Who commanded an angel to cry to Her
Rejoice! O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you"!
Anna was given a great miracle, conceiving the Theotokos through God's dispensation, bringing forth the One who is to bear the Ineffable Word. On Saturday and Sunday, Anna came to show us the way. There were miracles, some, we will not even hear about. The priest blessed us with the Holy Oil taken from the "unexplained Myrrh-streaming", and placed it on our heads. This is a physical manifestation and "gift" from someone who loves us very much, a grandmother.
I pondered on the fact that she began to stream myrrh on Mother's Day, 2004, giving great importance to "motherhood" and to the "Mother of God, Mary Ever Virgin." Recalling quietly, that today, Christians will arrive in Washington, to again state their understanding, that conception of life begins "in the womb," giving voice to the unborn, which cannot speak for it's self. We also have a great Mother, the Orthodox Church, which also teaches us that "all life" is to be respected, and having the fullness of faith, calls us to enter into a journey that leads to everlasting life.
Our Church, is a beacon for the lost, the hungry and those seeking peace and rest. We welcome you as we did St. Anna, at St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church.
Thank you, St. Anna, for remembering us the faithful of St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church, in the town of Southbridge, and our neighbors. As our arms are also open to the community, the lost and seeking, and we implore your blessing and prayers, especially for our increasing fold. Steady our path, ever guiding us. We appreciate your visit, and thank those who brought you to us from St. Tikhon's in PA.
Today is not just an ordinary Monday, as we bask in heavenly gifts and wonder....and thank all who came to share in this joyful event with us. She who was blessed in the Church of the Resurrection, in the tomb of Christ, came to bless us. This Church, of the Holy Sepulchre, which is located within the "Old City, Jerusalem", is a site known for original, Christian veneration. In a very special way, she brought us to where death is made to life, by His death and resurrection, and earth is made to heaven, and by their intercession, we are renewed.
By her coming, we are strengthened and refreshed and made steadfast in our journey of life.
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