During his homily on Friday, the Patriarch of Romania stressed that the Nativity of the Mother of God from barren and elderly, but also humble and praying parents should represent an encouragement to all parents who have children and for those who do not have but wish to give birth to children.
His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated on Sept. 8 at St George Chapel of his patriarchal residence.
The Patriarch offered his reflections on the Feast of the Nativity of Virgin Mary focusing on the spiritual virtues of Righteous Joachim and Anna, who were ‘prayerful, pious, merciful, humble people, who feared God’.
Joachim and Anna had a continuous state of sorrow in their souls, the patriarch noted pointing to their shame of being barren. Following fervent prayers, God fulfils their request, although they were of old age. By His grace, God has overcome the natural law of the flesh, the barren human nature and the old age, and granted Virgin Mary to the two righteous spouses as a gift, the patriarch said.
His Beatitude pointed to the way the Mother of God was prefigured in the Old Testament. He said that Virgin Mary was ‘the pure dove that informed Noah that the flood would cease; Jacob’s ladder, as a tie between heaven and earth; the Ark of the Old Covenant, because she bears Christ the Saviour’.
Patriarch Daniel went on to emphasise the pure life of the Mother of God and her parents, a life that should be followed by Christian families today.
Many people suffer because they do not have children. However, those who pray much, who fast, and request the intercessions of the Church, after a while are surprisingly granted from God the ability to give birth to children. Others have adopted children, thus becoming their parents through their tenderness.
It is not enough to give birth to children according to the flesh, the patriarch cautioned. A true parent is that who forms a child, who educates him or her, who manifests his paternal care and responsibility for the child’s growth and education.
The Nativity of the Mother of God should represent an encouragement to all parents who have children and for those who do not have but wish to give birth to children, His Beatitude noted saying that the Mother of God is a Protectress of all families and children.
In his homily, the patriarch recalled the Church’s efforts to improve the educational process.
We want to help families with many children so that they might be educated in their faith, he said.
Pointing to the family of Saint Basil the Great of which the Church declared Saints six members, the patriarch said that through faith children could become saints and citizens of the heavenly homeland.
Patriarch Daniel congratulated all parents who take good care of their children’s education, adding that educators carry out a missionary and holy work, which is less rewarded in this world, but is blessed and rewarded by God in the eternal life.
Recalling Christ’s words that whosoever shall do and teach his commandments will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:19), the patriarch interpreted them and said that educators, teachers and professors will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. He added that their greatness would increase when the children and young people educated by them would become people of vast culture and of faith and would bring joy to the Church, their family and the society.
Patriarch Daniel ended his speech by congratulating the over two millions Romanians who bear the name of Virgin Mary. He wished them to grow in faith, prayer, good deeds and asked the Mother of God to protect them.