Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Many years ago I recall being at home one night watching the film, “The Godfather: Part II.” As I was doing so, my brother walked into the room during a scene where Michael Corleone was beseeching his mother’s blessing. The mother, dressed in black in her old age after becoming a widow many years before, talked very little and when she did, very softly. In this particular scene, one of many in which Michael would seek counsel from his mother, she was sitting in a rocking chair in front of her fireplace. In one of the movie’s most tender moment’s, her son would lay his head on her knee as she stared at the fire. The rest of the film aside, at this moment, I looked at my brother and said to him “Look at how these filmmakers view the sacredness of the mother,” to which he agreed.
Many cultures in the Mediterranean world would resonate with this image. It would also resonate very much for Orthodox Christians. For those of us who are Greek ethnically, motherhood is something so beautiful and revered as sacred, even, which it should be! There are many beliefs about receiving a blessing from a mother or grandmother and what that means. Mothers are beloved in a way that is not quite the same in every part of the world. It means something very different, which is often applied in our relationship with Panagia, the Virgin Mary.
This same dedication can and should be recognized within the Orthodox Church toward the Mother of God, whom we believe is our mother in a very beautiful, spiritual sense. In the way that we revere the mother who tenderly gives birth, cares for and nurtures her child with love, so we believe that Mother Mary does for each of us. Her presence is a very profound and special one, which can be found in all parts of the Orthodox world and recognized in her hymns and iconography. This same relationship can be sought with her, remembering that she is our mother par excellence, one without human weaknesses and who will never let us fall.
This month, as we celebrate the great feast of her Dormition, the “Pascha of the Summertime,” let us endeavor to receive her blessing as we would our own mother’s. She loves and is there for us, and we pray for her intercessions for whatever we need.
May we all have her blessing and protection today and every day of our life! Amen!
With love in Christ,
Father Niko Bekris