The Dormition is such a tender and encouraging Feast.
Friday night after Vespers, I was sweetly surprised to hear the Lamentation melody from Holy Week. Those tones touch some place deep inside of us, don't they? Eleni mentions more about this. We didn't have a special procession or tapestry, but the tones alone were touching.
How is it that I've been Orthodox for 5 years, but this is the first year this Fast/Feast has touched me - or the first time I recall even paying attention to it?
Perhaps because of Katherine's lesson plans.
Maybe because of those incredible Paraklesis prayers, which Sylvia was so kind to post.
Maybe because of our priest's clear explanation of how Mary is the first example and a foretaste of the blessings of all Christians. Last night he encouraged us that the image of Mary's soul in Christ's arms is a picture of our soul when we die in the Lord.
This morning he made the connection of the Gospel reading to the Dormition: great blessings await one who listens to God and then says "yes" to do what He asks. These two Marys are our model to follow.
In giving birth, O Theotokos, thou didst preserve thy virginity;
And in falling asleep, thou didst not forsake the world.
Thou who didst give birth to Life, wast translated to life;
And by thy prayers, deliver our souls from death.
-Troparion, Dormition of the Most-Holy Theotokos