Israel was a servant, and I loved him

Today, the Greek Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, which is kept elsewhere on October 1. For the background, see GOARCH.

Since 1952, the feast has been moved to coincide with ‘Ohi Day’ (Επέτειος του «’Οχι», the anniversary of the ‘No’), remembering the day in 1940 when the Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas repulsed fascist Benito Mussolini, and so brought Greece into the Second World War on the side of the Allies.

As political elites increasingly dictate our lives under the cover of seductive promises of ‘fairness’ and easy riches, the protection of the Mother of God is desperately needed. “People’s characters are not shaped by laws, but by faith. Passing laws is easy; building characters is hard.” (Sarah Palin).

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IN a beautiful phrase Mary calls Israel the servant of the Lord.

The Lord came to his aid to save him. Israel is an obedient and humble servant, in the words of Hosea: Israel was a servant, and I loved him.

Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul.

But anyone who makes himself humble like a little child is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

St Bede. Source.

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WE sing the praise of the graces of your Protecting Veil, O Virgin, which like a light-bearing cloud you unfold beyond understanding, and you spiritually protect your people from every assault of their foe.

For we have gained you was Protection and defender and helper, as we cry out to you: Glory to your mighty deeds, O Pure one; glory to your Protection; glory to your providence towards us, O Immaculate!

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To you my Champion and Commander I your city, saved from disasters,
dedicate, O Mother of God, hymns of victory and thanksgiving;
but as you have unassailable might, from every kind of danger now deliver me,
that I may cry to you: Hail, Bride without bridegroom!

Source.

Kontakion. Tone 8. [To the melody] To you, my Champion.

LIKE a cloud brightly overshadowing the whole company of the Church, O all-pure, you appeared of old on the royal City.

But as the Protection and Champion of your people, protect from every affliction us who cry to you: Hail, Protection wholly light.

Source.

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WE must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior – but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ expressed so well in the hymn:

WHEN I survey the wondrous Cross
on which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Margaret Thatcher, 1988. Source.