The confidence that is from God… p4

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In the last posting on this topic, we mentioned how parrhesia was a result of our being adopted sons of Our Father in heaven.

There is one type of parrhesia based on a relationship quite different and unique.  As compared to us having the confidence of children before the Father, there is a confidence of a mother to the Son, the same confidence that the church saw manifest in our ladies request of her son at the wedding of Cana. In one hymn, the faithful ask of St. Mary:

O Virgin, that bore God the repairer of our breaches that from all sides surround us as waves and storms, with that confidence [ܒܦܵܪܹܗ݇ܣܝܼܵܐ] that you have towards Christ, beseech Him and supplicate Him that He have mercy on us, confer health to the sick, rest to those who are afflicted, restitution to aliens, and to us forgiveness of sins.

There is a special relation that the Holy Mother has with Christ, who became incarnate in her: she conceived him, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and bore him, and gave birth to him.  The prayer hymns do not explicitly mention that she brought him up, raising him in his childhood.  The Syriac fathers are not shy in mentioning this. For example, Ephrem in his Nativity Hymn states:

Mary bare the silent Babe, while in Him were hidden all tongues! Joseph bare Him, and in Him was hidden a nature more ancient than anything that is old!  …

When He sucked the milk of Mary, He was suckling all with Life. While He was lying on His Mother’s bosom, in His bosom were all creatures lying. He was silent as a Babe, and yet He was making His creatures execute all His commands. For without the First-born no man can approach unto the Essence, to which He is equal.

Interesting enough, here St. Ephrem mentions St. Joseph.  Although Joseph was Christ’s adopted father, and enjoyed a special relation with Jesus, he does not have the intimacy of actually bearing and giving birth to him and suckling him.

As we reflect upon the Holy Mother’s special role in history, let us finish this series with a fond picture of familial serenity offered by St. Ephrem:

She lays Him on her breast, and lulls Him with song and He rejoices.

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One Response to “The confidence that is from God… p4”

  1. Ian Climacus Says:

    I have a copy of St Ephrem’s Hymns on the Nativity; they are wonderful — thank you for reminding me of their beauty and depth of theology with the quotes.

    Having spent some time of my early teens in an ultra-Protestant church, the role of Mary has been, and still is, something my mind at first reacts to in a negative way. But, thanks be to God, and no doubt to St Mary to whom I have cried out for understanding, that through learning more about the faith and participating in the Church’s services and hymnody, that I am coming to a proper understanding of the “confidence of a mother to the Son”.

    Thank you for this series; encouraging, practical and well as informative.

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