August 13, 2017

Some Teachings of Elder Joseph the Hesychast about the Mother of God

By Elder Joseph the Hesychast

- Our Panagia hastens everywhere. She bestows her grace abundantly upon anyone who fervently cries out to her. She is a mediatress to Christ for everyone, because she was deemed worthy to give birth to the Lord and to become the Mother of God. She carries Him in her arms and continuously entreats Him. Since we sinners do not have the boldness to run directly to God from the start, we cry out to His Mother. She regenerates us; she intercedes; she anticipates all our afflictions. She is our protectress and helper, more honorable than all the angels, beyond compare more glorious than the Cherubim and Seraphim, second in rank only to the Holy Trinity. Oh, but she is so good, so sweet, that you want to embrace her at every moment and obtain consoling grace. The more you love, the more you are loved.

- When the Divine Liturgy is being celebrated, our sweet Mother gives the Baby, Who is sacrificed for us. And when we commune worthily, through prior fasting, voluntary vigil, and compunctious prayer, we eat the Body of Jesus and the Blood that He received from the Most Immaculate Blood of the Panagia. What is more, in eating the Body of Christ, we ever suckle the milk of the Panagia, whereupon what happens to us? We become genuine children of the Panagia, brethren of Christ, and sons and children of God by Grace. And when we mysteriously contain Christ in our souls and bodies “inessentially” [not in essence, but by Grace] — because He is indivisibly with the Father —, we also have the Father together with the Holy Spirit!

This is the extraordinary kinship we have received from our sweet Mother and Panagia!

Do you see what gift our sweet Mother has vouchsafed us? Do you see how much we ought to love her? This is why we must unceasingly draw near and frequently receive her divine breast to suckle as her innocent children. Every time we are going to commune, we should noetically receive her breast to suckle, and the sweet little Jesus in her arms yields to us and permits us. He is not jealous of the profuse distribution by His Mother, but rather rejoices and invites us: Wrap yourselves as babes in our Mother’s dress and be filled with chastity by the Divine and virginal body. Become fragrant from her! I know of nothing else that pleases the Panagia so much as chastity. May whosoever wishes to acquire her great love take care to purify himself, and she will always take tender care of him and grant him every heavenly thing.

- I cannot describe to you how much our Panagia likes chastity and purity. Since she is the only pure Virgin, she wants and loves everyone to be like that. As soon as we cry out to her she rushes to our help. You don’t even finish saying, “All Holy Theotokos, help me!” and at once, like lightning, she shines through the nous and fills the heart with illumination. She draws the nous to prayer and the heart to love. Many times the entire night passes in tears and sweet cries, singing praises to her and especially to Him Whom she carried.

- Embrace in your arms the icon of the Panagia as if she were alive, as you embraced your dear mother when you were little. Tell her all your pain, wet her icon with your pure tears, then you will derive consistent consolation. She will intercede with her Son, Who is so good, Who loves the good, has mercy on the bad, and forgives repenting sinners. He will open the noetic eyes of your soul and fill your heart with love and divine eros. And then your eyes will become two fountains of tears.

- All the saints wrote many praises to our Panagia. But I, the poor one, have found no words more elegant or sweet to describe her, than to cry out to her at every moment: "My dear Mother! My dear, sweet Mother! When my soul departs may it come into your hands, and through them may it be given to its Creator, your Only-begotten Son."

From the Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast.