September Nativity

On September 8, we celebrate the first great holy day of the Orthodox liturgical calendar (the Church Year begins in September). The Nativity of the Mother of God celebrates the birth of the woman called to be the mother of the Messiah.

The Lord tells the Prophet Jeremiah:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (Jeremiah 1:5)

If this is the case for the prophets, it is so for all God’s People. God did not choose Mary arbitrarily to be the woman who would bring his Son into the world. Mary’s ministry as “Theotokos”– “Birth-giver of God” – was in the Lord’s mind before he formed her in her mother’s womb. Before she was born, Mary was set apart, consecrated, for this great calling.

Indeed, none of us is here by accident. Like Mary, we all have a part to play in God’s great plan for his creation. What is required of us is the trust, courage, and resolve of our Lord’s Mother, to echo her words:

I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be to me according to your word.

Saints Peter and Paul

Today is the feast day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Both of these great apostles had times in their life when they turned their backs on Christ – Peter when he denied Jesus three times during our Lord’s Passion, and Paul when he led the persecution of Christians after Pentecost. But through repentance they were reconciled to the Lord and became his great champions.

God knew what these two men were capable of, he had an important part for them in his plan, even when they were at odds with him. God sees into the depths of our souls. He knows our gifts. He sees the contribution that we can make towards building up his kingdom. And to unlock all of that, it takes movement on our part. Trusting in God’s mercy, we need to reach out to him with a repentant heart. God never turns away from those who turn to him.