Sunday, November 21, 2004

The way is shut!

Today is the feast of the entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the temple. The readings for Vespers for the feast are quite thought-provoking, and intentionally place the Temple before us as an image of Mary. Take the third reading, from Ezekiel (KJV):

Ezekiel 43:27-44:4

And it shall come to pass from the eighth day and onward, [that] the priests shall offer your whole-burnt-offerings on the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord. Then he brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary that looks eastward; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no one shall pass through it; for the Lord God of Israel shall enter by it, and it shall be shut. For the prince, he shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord; he shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go forth by the way of the same. And he brought me in by the way of the gate that looks northward, in front of the house: and I looked, and, behold, the house was full of the glory of the Lord: and I fell upon my face.

The implication is clear: any door through which the Lord enters must remain shut forever afterward, since it is now holy. The conjunction of this passage with a feast of the Mother of God shows that the Church views this passage as applying to Mary, whom the Lord God of Israel has entered in most intimately. This passage supports and foretells her perpetual virginity--since it was by the Holy Spirit that she became pregnant, Joseph would have been wrong to enter that door. Thus she was ever virgin.

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