Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Acts 1.12-14; Psalm 86; John 19.25-34

One of the most evocative of traditional Orthodox icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary is called “Our Lady of the Sign.” She stands facing the observer, her arms open and raised in the gesture of prayer (the “orans” position). [cf Psalm 133.3; I Timothy 2.8] Her belly is great with her Child, who stands, fully formed, also facing the observer, his hand raised in blessing.

The “sign” of course refers to King Ahaz’s refusal to ask the Lord for a confirmatory sign as the prophet Isaiah [7.11-14] had encouraged him. The sign, as Isaiah averred, was the coming birth of a child who would be God in the midst of his people (Immanuel).

She is the mother of that child, the anointed (Christ) of God. But thereby she is also the mother of the Body of Christ, that is, the Church. [Colossians 1.18] Once, she had been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to effect his coming into the world. [Luke 1.34-35] After his return to the Father, standing with the apostles and other believers awaiting the gift of the Holy Spirit
[Acts 1.4-5] she joins them in prayer. We greet her (
“Hail, Mary!”) and ask her prayers for us.

Posted in Daily Reflection.