Today we hasten prayerfully to the one who is called the fervent Intercessor of the Christian race. She is not simply the Intercessor, not simply the Helper, not simply the Helper and Refuge – she is the fervent Intercessor. And we see this fervency and intercession shown not only towards those who hasten to her grace-filled image, but even towards sinners, and even towards those who have fallen away.
A striking example of this is our long-suffering Motherland, which turned away from the faith of its ancestors, forgot the true God, and fell into godless insanity. And not just into insanity, but into hatred of man. Few faithful people remained, who stood at God’s altar and prayed, who preserved the Orthodox Faith, and who – not rising from their knees – shed tears for our Fatherland before the all-pure image of the Mother of God. And we see this fervent intercession of the Heavenly Queen in the fact that the Lord was merciful to our country, granting us time for repentance, for the correction of our sins, and for the restoration of that which had been violated, above all in human hearts.
We know, we are certain of this, and we confess this: this mercy of God was revealed to the Russian land above all by the prayerful intercession of the Mother of God, our fervent Supplicant and Intercessor. And today we stand before Her wonder-working image and implore Her that She not cease Her fervent intercessions for us and for both the future of our life and the years of our Fatherland. But what do we ourselves bring today to the Queen of Heaven? Your love? Fervency? A life corrected by repentance? Alas, sometimes the answer to these questions is negative.
The Lord grants us so little time for the correction of our lives. For many the gates of eternity are literally right behind them. One only needs to stand up and turn around – and you are already on the verge of death. This applies not only to people of advanced age, but to the young as well, for we now see what an enormous amount of insane and brazen deaths are taking place around us. According to the witness of the Holy Fathers, this is the consequence of a mindless and soulless life. God calls man at the very height and auspicious point in his spiritual growth. But what do we see when a fifteen, seventeen, or twenty-year-old boy or girl breaks contact with life by committing suicide, or in his folly jumping from peaks and cliffs, or cascading through streams of water, not discerning the meaning and significance of his life?
Today, as we stand on our knees before the image of the All-Pure, let us ask: How long, O Mother of God, wilt thou endure us and pray for us? How much time is yet allotted to us to have this happy opportunity to beg thy forgiveness, condescension, and help? Let us give thought to this today, my dear brothers and sisters! Let us remember how quickly our life passes, let us remember the answer that we will all give to the Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of whether we believed in Him or not, of whether we confessed Him or denied Him. Everyone will give an answer at God’s Judgment, and this truth is immutable.
As we approach the immaculate image of the Mother of God, let us earnestly beseech that by her prayers she might entreat the Lord to extend His mercy upon us, enlightening us, and granting us time for heartfelt, fervent, prayerful repentance and correction of our life. We know that the supplication of a Mother availeth much to win the Master’s favor. Let us place our saving hope on this prayer, without shame, at the image of the All-Pure One standing before us.
Delivered on July 8/21, 2010, in the Theophany Cathedral in Moscow.
Translated from the Russian.