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How to show reverence to the Theotokos?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Justin-H.S., Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. Retrograde

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    I’ve converted to Orthodoxy for about 3 years now, but I still have trouble showing due reverence to the Panagia. Rationally, I know we should, but emotionally I don’t find myself fleeing to her. During prayers we show her reverence, but never just her by herself. I borrowed a little booklet from the Church library called “The Unrivaled Protecteress” and in it are several stories of pious people who called upon her for help in which she saves them from certain danger. You may have read the book yourselves.

    Is there a prayer book just to the Theotokos? I know it just takes practice, but after reading those stories it feels like I’m missing something if I’m not praying to her naturally. Know what I mean? Is it like a fake it til you make it thing?

     
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  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    just pray to her by yourself. ask her to pray to her Son for you. get some Akathists or canons to her or her icons.
     
  3. Justin-H.S.

    Justin-H.S. Retrograde

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    Should I confess this as a sin? Maybe my priest can assign me a prayer rule? We’ve got many of her icons but none in the bedroom. I’ll need to rectify that situation tomorrow.
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    not as a sin, but I would bring it up in confession for advice.
     
  5. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    Remember that reverence to the Theotokos always should point back to Christ. I don’t think you need to have that same level of devotion as some do in the books you referenced. There is a balance. Even the canons and Akathists point back to her relationship with Christ and what He has done.

    Rather than reading books like that to learn how to relate to the Theotokos, I recommend reading Scripture, listening to the liturgy, the hymns of the Church, and reading the saints. All of those tell us how we should be relating to her. Even look at the iconography. Those all show us proper reverence and love for the Theotokos. They will show that we reverence her because of Christ, not because of herself alone.

    All this said, I concur with Fr Matt. Talk to your priest for advice and clarification.
     
  6. AMM

    AMM A Beggar Supporter

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    For me, it was a slow process that started back when I was a Lutheran (beginning with devotions to her, but without prayer to her), but my lack of understanding of her role remained the final stumbling block to me when I was seeking Orthodoxy. Even after I entered the Church, I continued to feel uncomfortable with many prayers and with praying to her. Last August, at a paraklesis service, as I gazed on the icons and listened to the priest's prayers -- filled with love towards her -- she opened my heart and it "clicked" for me.
     
  7. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Just bow deeply at the waist three times when venerating her icon before and after Divine services, asking her to pray to God for you each time. But when you are doing this, seek to have the grace of God gift you with the knowledge of the gravity of your sinfulness and unworthiness to stand before Him. If this gift is received, then her purity will become manifest to you as the same purity that comes from God, and how unworthy you are to even stand before her. That is how it happened for me, at least. But it wasn't until many years later that I began to learn to rely on her prayers as I do now. There's no timeline to be kept in this. God gives such gifts as are beneficial to each one at certain times, as determined by God, not us.
     
  8. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    FWIW, 13 years after chrismation, I still struggle with some of this :) Things don’t always happen right away, and it can take time to understand it in the proper way. It would be very easy to misunderstand some things with my previous “language” or perceptions.

    I was thinking about this topic this morning, and was reminded of it during our Divine Liturgy.

    Perhaps you can start with this:

    Steadfast protectress of Christians, constant advocate before the Creator: do not despise the cry of us sinners, but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call upon you in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you.

    Take note of what the hymn says. I highlighted some parts that help me.

    My mother advocates for me to our Lord and Savior, comes to my aid in an instant, intercedes for me in prayer. I ask her for her prayers when I am in need.

    How much moreso does the Theotokos do that, who is truly the Mother of God Himself? Through her relationship with Jesus, she is a constant intercessor and loves us as well. It is not by her power that she protects us, but by her intercession and by what God grants and ordains.

    Just some food for thought :)
     
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