Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Annunciation to St. Mary
Volume 5 No. 314 November 20, 2015
We are into the second week of Syriac Orthodox Advent Season. Last week, we recalled the annunciation to Zachariah about the arrival of John, The Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah. Six months after that meeting, Angel Gabriel goes to Nazareth to the house of Mary and gives her the good news that she has been found favor in the eyes of the Lord to bear the 'Son of God.' We call this event, the annunciation to St. Mary (or 'Suboro' in Syriac). This is celebrated on March 25 - 9 months before the Christmas. In fact, Syriac Orthodox Church considers this feast so important that it is mandatory to celebrate Holy Qurbano on this day even if it falls on Good Friday. In fact, a few years ago, March 25th fell on a Good Friday and we celebrated the Holy Qurbana and then broke the fast after the qurbana as is required and then started the Good Friday Namaskaram. In 2016 (next year), the dates are going to converge again! Then this don't happen till after 2100. So, next year will be the last opportunity for most of us to experience this event in our life times!

Back to annunciation. Ever wonder why or how Mary was selected by God to bear the human nature of Jesus? Mary was an ordinary woman in an unknown hamlet of Israel. Not much education or status; definitely not a royalty although she was from the bloodline of David. I believe that God was pleased by the humility of Mary. We see time and time again, God picks ordinary people for extraordinary tasks. People like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Mary and later the 12 disciples picked by Jesus, were all ordinary people. But God knew that these people can be counted on to follow the instructions faithfully. They can be molded. Saint Augustine wrote, "He chose the mother he had created; he created the mother he had chosen" (Sermo 69, 3, 4).

Mary was a young Jewish maiden engaged to be married to the carpenter Joseph when the angel Gabriel came to her: "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you. . . You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end. . . . The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God."

What an honor! Unlike Zachariah, who doubted the words of the angel, Mary had no such issues. She believed in God almighty and knew God can do anything He wishes. She wondered the graciousness of the Lord to select her for such a high position/honor and she humbled more at that prospect. She said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said." She lowered herself to the position of a slave girl! That is true humility, obedience and faith. These are the qualities that are prized by God. God loves a broken and contrite heart.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart -
These, O God, You will not despise.
Psalms 51:17

Mary is the perfect example of how we should live our lives, in the service of God and of others. By living our Christian lives with humility and love which affirms our faith, the hand of God can work in our lives for change and the happiness of people and the world.

This is what we need to learn and adopt in our lives too. We should be ready to let God use us to whatever He wants.

In this issue of Malankara World Journal, we have given few selected articles that further illuminates the role played by the Theotokos, the Mother of God. We have heard that Joseph was a man of silence; not a word that he said is reported in the Gospels. He listened and followed what God commanded him to do. Mary was also a person who spoke very little and contemplated. She let Jesus free to perform "his father's business." But she was there when Jesus needed her most, when he needed protection as an infant and when he was on the cross. She knew her role!

In the article, "The Key to Understanding Mary - The Second Eve", James Akin quotes St. Justin Martyr describing the parallels between the Virgin Mary and the Virgin Eve. "Just as the word of the serpent bore fruit through the Virgin Eve, so the word of God came into the world through the Virgin Mary. Eve believed the word of an evil angel and death was brought into the world, while Mary believed the word of a good angel and Life Himself was brought into the world." According to him, the key to understanding the role played by St. Mary is to realize that St. Mary was the second Eve. Read the article and you will learn why.

The back issues of Malankara World Journal are rich in explaining the annunciation. Take a look. We also recommend that you read the St. Mary supplement in Malankara World that gives an in-depth explanation about the Theotokos. You can read it here:

Thursday, November 26 is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day. It is a good time to give thanks to all who played a role in your life. God should be the first in the list. We will have a special issue of Malankara World Journal to be released, God Willing, on Nov 24.

It is also time to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria as well as the victims of the evil perpetrated by terrorists in Paris recently.

A special thanks to SS from Australia for the sweet potato soup recipe. Sweet potato (sometimes called yam in US) is a staple of Thanksgiving menu. Try it and let us know what you think.

Morth Mariam Yoldath Aloho (Mother Of God) Pray For Us.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


Malankara World Journal is published by
Copyright © 2011-2019 Malankara World. All Rights Reserved.