April 9, 2011

Saint Mary of Egypt: A Living Example of the Power of Repentance

By Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

Saint Mary the Egyptian - along with Saint Pelagia, Saint Moses the Ethiopian, Blessed Augustine and others - is a living example of the power of repentance. People who have sunk into the muck of sin to the top of their heads, afterwards reach the cleanliness of the Angels! How powerful is the Grace of God! Let us not lose hope, no matter how much we have sunk into sin. We are able again to become pure white, as we were after Baptism. All we need to do is repent!

The Pentitential Prayer of St. Mary of Egypt to the Theotokos

My Panagia, Mother of God, who gave birth in the flesh to God the Word. I know, O how well I know, that it is no honor or praise to thee when one so impure and depraved as I looks up to thy icon, O Ever-Virgin, who didst keep thy body and soul in purity. Rightly do I inspire hatred and disgust before thy virginal purity. But I have heard that God Who was born of thee became man for the purpose to call sinners to repentance. Then help me, for I have no other help. Order the entrance of the church to be opened to me. Allow me to see the venerable Tree on which He Who was born of thee suffered in the flesh and on which He shed His holy Blood for the redemption of sinners like me, unworthy as I am. Be my faithful witness before thy Son that I will never again defile my body by the impurity of fornication, but as soon as I have seen the Tree of the Cross I will renounce the world and its temptations and will go wherever thou wilt lead me.

My loving Panagia, thou hast shown me thy great love for all men. Glory to God Who receives the repentance of sinners through thee. What more can I recollect or say, I who am so sinful? It is time for me, my Panagia, to fulfil my vow, according to thy witness. Now lead me by the hand along the path of repentance!

Translated by John Sanidopoulos