Ph.D. student at Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsly Institute in Toronto. Some theological reflections drawing out the significance of the little things in life.
We are already taking small steps through the Philip’s Fast to Christmas. Metropolitan Borys Gudziak shares his thoughts with us every morning. (If you haven't seen them yet on Facebook, be sure to take a look 😊). On the seventh day of this trip to Christmas we are greeted by the feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. I find it interesting that we celebrate this feast as we prepare for Christmas. It so happens that the themes that we encounter in the kontakion for the day are perfect for our spiritual preparations:
Kontakion – Tone 4: The Savior’s pure temple,* the precious bridal chamber and Virgin,* the sacred treasury of the Glory of God,* is brought today into the house of the Lord;* and with her she brings the grace of the divine Spirit.* God’s angels sing in praise of her:* She is the heavenly dwelling place!
In this beautiful liturgical poetry, the Mother of God herself is called the temple of the Savior and the dwelling place of heaven, and it underscores that she will carry the Savior. Joachim and Anna bring little Mary to the temple and there she prepares herself to become a temple for the Lord. She prepares herself to receive Him, to carry Him in her womb, to give birth to Him, and to follow Him.
This comparison of Mary to the temple reminded me that you and I are also a temple of the Holy Spirit. I have heard this phrase more than once (you probably have too). It underlines that each of us is called to carry the Lord. But it's not that simple! You have to be brave! It takes preparation! We must prepare to become the temple of the Lord.
The celebration of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple at the beginning of the Philip’s Fast can inspire us to prepare for Christmas in a very special way. We should be prepared not only physically, by cleaning the house and preparing food, but also spiritually. We have to prepare in the way Mary did it. What did she do? She went to church (she lived there!). So we too should go to church 😊. While we are there, it is a good idea to go to confession to prepare the temple of our heart for the coming of the Savior.
Also, this Feast stresses another important thing – trust. Little Mary trusts. She trusts her parents, trusts Zechariah who meets her, and she trusts God. This is a very important point. After preparing the dwelling of our heart, we must open it to God, trust Him, and allow Him to enter it. That's what Mary does. In great trust, she opens her heart to God and allows Him to act.
So, I go to prepare the dwelling of my heart for the coming of the Savior. I still have some time left in this fast to learn to trust God like the Blessed Virgin Mary and to open my heart to Him to become a temple for Him.