Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The Lord makes our time holy through the Church’s liturgical year. The glorious month of August closes the year with an encapsulation of the story of our salvation.
On the Feast of the Procession of the Precious Cross, we remember also the witness in suffering of our precursors of old Israel in the Maccabee family. This reminds us that Christ came to bring to fruition all the faithful labors of those devoted to God throughout the ages. Our icon of the Resurrection shows that the first action of his resurrection power was to loose the bonds of the righteous dead of ages past. This commemoration places both His saving action and those who were long awaiting it before our eyes.
The Feast of the Transfiguration holds up for us, as it did for the Holy Apostles Peter, James and John, the glory that belongs to Him eternally. His incarnate Being completes and fulfills the spiritual inheritance of His people Israel: the law, represented by Moses, and the prophets, represented by Elijah. He shows His glory that He had with the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5). His pre-eternal glory is shown through His earthly body, showing us that He is the one to restore our nature to its original state. The glorious-as-God and glorified-as-man Son of God provides that “better thing” (Hebrews 11:40) which those in ages past and we, all falling under the same sin-induced condemnation, desperately need and await.
The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, her repose in the arms of her Son and our God, is another harbinger of what is possible in the new, resurrected life. She dies, as will we all, and, though she has led a life of perfect obedience to God’s will, she yet needs to ask her Son, as do we all, for protection at the time of death. And just as she has shown us and led us on the way of perfect humilty, so she shows us here that she, and we, may trust Him completely to finish that work that He has begun. As she looked to Him at all times, she looked to Him at the time of her death. The immediate lesson for us is, if we do not yet practice as did she to perfect our following of Him, we should start now. We cannot wait until the time of our death to begin to trust Him and show Him that we do by following His commandments.
God is so merciful. He continually through the year tells us what we need to know and do. It is always, therefore, time to follow. Remember what our dear like-the-Apostles Father Seraphim said. “It is later than you think.”