If this apple were us, let's consider the course of it's life. Let us say that when the apple was 8 years old, it began to say mean things to its sibling....(with a knife, slowly begin to take small bites from the apple)...then as the apple grew older, it experienced a fight on the soccer field, and hurt another player (another large chunk taken away) Then, at age 15, the apple began having bad thoughts everyday for a whole year about a teacher at school....(yet again, more wounds) and at age 16, the apple started to date and fool around with other apples outside of marriage. (several wounds inflicted for each date.) But in fact, by the time the apple was 19, it had already dated 10 different apples, and even experimented with its body in harmful ways outside of marriage (unfortunate vary large chunks taken away). Finally, the apple made a very bad decision, and disrespected its parents without apologizing. (one final chunk taken away)
Now this apple is turning 21 tomorrow. It is beginning to think about leaving the supermarket one day, and desired for someone to come and buy it to take it to its new home. However, compared to other apples....ours was beginning to look pretty ugly. It's skin had faults and bruises, large scars and wounds. Slowly, its soul was turning brown with each passing day. You could barely recognize it for the beautiful apple it started as.
What happened? Can you see the effect that sin has on the body and the soul? If I asked you today to think about the state of "your" apple... what do you think it would look like?
Can you image what the body and soul of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, looked like? We can see right here in the icon of the Dormition. Can you find the small child clothed in white in Christ's hands...this is the pure soul of Panagia - just like the inside of the apple! It is unblemished and has a halo for holiness. Do you remember that when the body dies temporarily the soul leaves the body and waits for the Resurrection. This is what we see happening. We see the Mother of God asleep, but the angels are present too surrounding Christ to take her soul into heaven! Let's talk about her life, how she was born, her parents and how she grew up. How did she pass her time, and become a "teenager?" Even afterwards? Do you remember how she honored her son and God, and supported the growth of the Church through the spreading of the Gospel? She became the Mother of all Christians!
The difference between us and the Theotokos is that she kept herself and her life pure, just as God first created her. Of course, she may have made mistakes, and could have sinned, for no one is perfect except Christ, but she was found favorable in God's eyes, and He helped to preserve her. She is an excellent example for us to follow. We call upon her with some of these titles:
- Pure One
- More honorable than the angels
- Only all blameless One
- You without corruption
- Bride of God
- Spotless One
- Ever Virgin (three stars on shoulders and head for virginity before Christ, during the birth of Christ and all the days of her life after Christ)
Finally, we believe in her as the "Protection of Christians" which means she will and does help us when we ask her to! Although an apple may be irreparable, our souls are not! God can heal our wounds, if we strive to return to our most delicious state of perfection through the Sacrament of Confession and God's great mercy. In our prayers and the hymns of the Church we desire greater strength against temptations and difficulties, to remain pure in our virginity and in our thoughts, so we too can honor God with our lives as did the Panagia.