The humility of the Mother of God is greater than any, wherefore all generations on earth exalt her, and all the heavenly hosts serve her; and this His Mother the Lord has given us to intercede for us and be our help.
There is no better way than to live in humility and love. The soul then knows a great peace within her, and will not set herself above her neighbor. If we love our enemies, there will be no place in our souls for pride, for in Christ-like love no one ranks above another. Pride like a burning fire consumes all that is good, whereas the humility of Christ passes description and is sweet. Did men but know this, the whole world would be apprenticed to this science. Day and night, all my life long, have I striven after humility, yet am I not able to prevail. My soul ever reflects: I have not attained to that which I desire, I cannot rest, but I humbly entreat you, brethren, you who know the love of Christ – pray for me, that I may be delivered from the spirit of pride, that the humility of Christ take up her abode in me.
St. Silouan in St. Silouan the Athonite
I often wonder when discussion reaches towards the Mother of God and becomes contentious – whether those who are uncomfortable with her veneration by Orthodox Christians have not become enmeshed in the “idea” of the Mother of God, rather than looking directly at her. For many, she remains a collection of verses in the Scripture, a cypher to be debated. What is lacking in this is the utter and complete depth of her humility that resides in her personally. To look at her is to blush – because we ourselves are so full of pride yet she whom God has exalted, remains so utterly and completely humble. She abides in the humility of Christ which was manifested in her even at the high greeting of an angel.
Those who fear her veneration do not see the person who is the recipient of that veneration – or they would see the vast humility that so far from vaunting itself against God, instead eternally cries, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word!”
How can Christians who have actually gazed upon the reality that is the Mother of God not love her and give her honor – an honor that flows into the vast expanse of her humility before God? Woe to those who accuse the Orthodox of giving to her an honor that belongs to God! Her own humility rebukes such honor!
Instead, she beckons us, fearful humans as we are, to walk the humble path she trod to the Cross, and to stand by the crucified Lord, able to hear His wondrous words from the Cross. So many love His words – but to whom were they spoken? Who was it that bore witness? Perhaps John or Mary Magdalene, but surely His own mother who did not abandon Him, whose own soul was pierced by a sword also. Who else would have understood His words as she did and does?
God grant us grace to lift our gaze towards the heights of humility and not just our arguments, so devoid of reason. God grant us grace to call blessed she whom He has blessed.