Today is a day of joy in the Eastern Church. It is the Feast of the Annuciation, when Mary learned that she had found favor in the eyes of God as no other human ever had.
From My Life in Christ, the diary of St. John of Kronstadt:
“I look to You alone, Lord, with my spiritual vision. I believe in You undoubtingly. You Yourself know how and what to give me. You are—the treasury of every blessing, You are—mercy, wisdom, and omnipotence abundantly flowing upon all creatures.
When you pray to the Lord, represent to yourself vividly to whom you are praying. You are praying to the unoriginated, endless King of all creatures, to the All-holy, All-merciful, Almighty, Most-wise, Omnipresent, All-righteous God, Whom millions of millions of angels of various orders revere, Whom the armies of martyrs, the companies of prophets and apostles, the assemblies of prelates, venerable and righteous men praise. When you pray to the Holy Virgin, Our Lady, also represent to yourself Her unprecedented holiness, Her greatness, mercy, wisdom, Her helpfulness to all, and the humble worship rendered unto Her by the assemblies of angels and men.
Thus I also look to You, O Holy Virgin. “Intercede for and have mercy upon me Yourself!”
The Mother of God is one flesh and blood, and one spirit with the Savior, as His Mother. So infinitely great was Her merit by the grace of God that she became the Mother of God Himself, giving Him most pure and most sacred flesh, nourishing Him with Her milk, carrying Him in Her arms, clothing Him, caring in every way for Him in His infancy, kissing Him over and over again, and caressing Him. O Lord, who can describe the greatness of the God-bearing Virgin? ” Every tongue is in doubt how to worthily praise You, even the angelic mind itself wonders how to hymn You, Mother of God…..” We must call upon Her with one thought and simple impulse of the heart… She is one with God, like the Saints.
Know and remember, that the matter of your salvation is always near to the heart of Our Lady, the Mother of God, for it was for this that the Son of God, by the favor of the Father, and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, chose Her out of all generations and was incarnate of Her in order to save the human race from sin, the curse and the eternal death, or everlasting torments. As the matter of our salvation is near to the Savior, so likewise it is near to Her. Turn to Her with full faith, trust, and love.
If the Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, through Her union with God, and through Her unprecedented service to the Lord of all, most speedily becomes everything to all those who ask with faith and love for Her intercession, delivering them from every evil, and bestowing upon them everything which leads to their salvation, in accordance with their prayer, then will not the Lord Himself do still more? Only do not be unbelieving; do not be cold to Him in your soul and insensible as a stone, but stir up within you your faith, your gratitude for God’s benefits, the sincere recognition of your sins, and your great love for your Savior, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Who loves you with an immeasurable love.”
The prayer of a servant:
REJOICE, O Theotokos, O Virgin, for the Lord is with you. You have found favor with God and His grace is full upon you. Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus and blessed are you among women, for you have borne the Savior of our souls. Mother Mary, we ask you to intercede for us before your Son as you did for the bride and groom at Cana. Add your prayers to ours: pray for the unity of the faith and the reconciliation of our Churches, pray for our families, pray for the salvation of us sinners, pray for each of us that we may not be brought to trial.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.