Since August contains the Feast of the Dormition of Mary, the Mother of God, it is dedicated to Mary in the Orthodox liturgical cycle. It therefore behoves us to say something about Mary. We think that it is impossible for us to say anything worthy of the Mother of God, but let us try, we who are unworthy of her, to say something not unworthy of her.
When the Archangel Gabriel approached Mary in Nazareth, he greeted her thus: ‘Hail, you who have been shown grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.’
What can we say? An angel of God greets a mere woman with these words. And Mary ‘seeing [the angel] was agitated at his word and wondered what sort of greeting this might be.’ And the angel said to her: ‘Do not fear, Mariam, for you have found grace before God.’
And after the angel announced the birth of Jesus by Mary, Mary replied: ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.’
Mary then went quickly to see her kinswoman, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And whence comes this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’
And Mary replied: ‘My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he looked upon the humbleness of his maidservant. For, behold, from now, all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One did great things for me and Holy is his Name. And his mercy is to generations of generations, to those who fear him. He made strength with his arm, he scattered the proud in the thoughts of their heart; he deposed strong men from their thrones and humble men he raised up. He filled hungry men with good things and rich men he sent away empty. He defended Israel his servant to remember mercy, just as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed [singular] to the Age.’
We do not know what to add to these Gospel passages that is worthy of Mary. We are like the angel in this troparion:
Gabriel, astonished at the fineness of your virginity and at the exceeding brightness of your purity, cried out to you who bore God: ‘What encomium shall I bring forth to you that is worthy? What shall I name you? I am in wonder and beside myself. Therefore, I cry out to you as I was commanded: Hail, you who have been shown grace!’
May you pray for us, Mary, Mother of God, you who gave birth to God.