Throughout the past month the world has witnessed the unprecedented visitation of the holy Virgin Mary in the lands of Egypt, across several churches, by tens of thousands of eyewitnesses, and countless miracles and healings.
These apparitions of our holy and blessed Mother began in the month of Kiahk. During the past weeks, many have been filled with the same question as was in the mouth of St. Elizabeth, “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43). Why is it that St. Mary chose to visit our land in this time? There is no land, other than Egypt, to which the Lord and Holy Family made a special visitation. The deep faith of the Egyptians is well known. There can be many reasons for this visit, but when we return to this gospel we find that the Holy Virgin does not answer St. Elizabeth’s question except with praise for the Lord, Who fills the hungry, grants mercy, and has done “great things” for St. Mary. St. Mary was so filled with the Love of God, and moved to compassion to visit and serve St. Elizabeth for three months in her pregnancy until her conception.
More importantly, St. Elizabeth’s question was enveloped by praise for the Virgin: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” She praises the Virgin, and in praise of the virgin, we praise the Lord Who took flesh and was incarnate of her. This is the orthodox way to praise the virgin–to praise her through the work God has done in her and through His incarnation. That is what we do during this blessed month of Kiahk. She is also blessed because she believed in the promises God granted her.
As the Virgin herself proclaimed, “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” This is our duty; this is our pride; this is our strength. We call her blessed for several hours each week. Coptic churches throughout the world praise the Virgin and the Incarnation for hours continuously, with sincere devotion and heartfelt gratitude for His great love for mankind, and her great care for her children. Notice St. Mary appears often in the middle of the night, after the faithful has praised for hours on end in earnest expectation. We praise her for the great work He has done in her, as a living testimony to the great work He seeks to perform in us, should we be so worthy.
He is the Lover of mankind; she loves her each of children. He is our Father of all; she is the Lady of us all. He is the Good Shepherd; she is the blessed mother. He is the Bridegroom; she, the pure and blessed bride. He is the Light of the world; she is the mother of the true Light. He is the Second Adam and the Firstborn of all creation; she is the Second Eve and the pride of our race. He is the Alpha and Omega; She is the Ever-virgin. He is the Holy One; She is the Panagia. We worship You, O Christ; we magnify you, the holy Theotokos.
The pictures and videos only capture a glimpse of her loving care for us. Let us not be only like those people who witnessed the miracles and wonders that our Lord Jesus Christ worked in their streets, but did not benefit and change their lives. Christ came to save them and change their lives; yet they remained the same as they were. They said,”‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity” (Lk. 13:26-27).
Let us truly benefit from these blessed days and apparitions with a renewed heart and changed life. Let us please the Lord and His mother, with hearts full of repentance and deeds reflecting the life of Christ. Let these wondrous apparitions not only be something we talk about as any newsworthy events, but something that changes our lives.
Let her enter into our homes, into our workplaces, into our schools, into our families, into our hearts and never leave. May we be known as the children of God, and the children of St. Mary, who reflect her pure life and His sacrifice on our behalf. Let us seek to please Him as she did. Let us continually thank the Lord and ask for the never-ending intercessions of the Lady of us All, the Holy Theotokos, Saint Mary.