An Irish Welcome

Céad Míle Fáilte friend and rover ...
Wherever you come from and whosoever you may be.
That's an Irish greeting and it means

you are welcome
a thousand times over.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rejoice Mary - most-beautiful lily ...

There once was a very pious and wealthy man named John, who had such difficulty memorising that he could not even learn to say a single prayer. Determined to learn, he went to a monastery, where he donated all his belongings and was tonsured a monk, asking the fathers to help him. The fathers, in turn, gladly received him and hastened to show their gratitude, but despite their efforts to teach him psalms and prayers, he was still unable to learn anything. Finally, one wise and virtuous brother read to him many short prayers and asked him which one he preferred ...

John responded that he liked "Rejoice Mary" the best ...

With time he learned this hymn by heart and, as if having found a precious treasure, felt so much joy that at every moment he would say nothing other than "Rejoice Mary". Consequently, it earnt him the nickname of "Rejoice Mary".

This ever memorable man continued saying this prayer until the moment his blessed soul departed from his body. At the conclusion of the funeral service, the fathers proceeded to bury him in a special location because his holy body was fragrant. What was even more striking is that this fragrance did not diminish after they buried him, but on the contrary it increased as each day passed, bringing an ineffable joy to the monks. On the ninth day, as the fathers were commemorating him, they witnessed yet another wondroud miracle that left them awestruck.

A most-beautiful lily blossomed from his grace, which had the following words written on each petal with gold letters:

"Rejoice Mary"

Image: Photo taken October 2008 by Gentle Heart - Lily from within the main fountation of St Panteleimon at his monastery, Andros.

The lily's sweet smell was so intense that it did not resemble any earthly flower. The abbot then said to the brothers: "My dear fathers, from this marvelous event, we can gather how much holiness and how much love for our Panagia this blessed man possessed. But it is fitting for us to see where the root of this lily lies as well, so that you may realise how much grace a person who loves the Ever-Virgin with all his heart receives."

And so, having uncovered the grave they were amazed to see that the lily's stem was coming out of this righteous man's mouth. The abbot then further instructed them to cut his chest open; and when they did so, everyone was astonished, for they saw that the flower's stem was rooted in his heart, upon which the icon of the Most-Holy Theotokos was depicted.

They then took that most-sacred lily in a procession with incense to the reliquary, where they guarded it along with the other holy relics, while honoring and respecting John on account of the love he had for the Mother of God. Through her intercessions, may we also be deemed worthy of the heavenly bliss. Amen* Excerpt from "The Prayer Rope" published by Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery, NY. Tel: (607)498-5285. ISBN 978-0-9725504-2-0.