August 14, 2013 + On the Dormition of the Theotokos
St. John of Damascus, Homily 1 on the Dormition
O wonder truly above nature! O amazing event! Death, long seen as revolting and hateful, is now praised and called blessed. Long known as the bearer of sadness and depression, of tears and melancholy, it is now revealed as the cause of joy and celebration. So it is, if for all God's servants, who death is now called blessed, the ends if their lives give sure proof that they have found God's favor – if death is called blessed for this reason! Death brings them to fulfillment and shows them to be blessed by making their goodness unchanging; as the proverb puts it, "Do not call a person blessed before his death" (Sir. 11:28).
But we do not understand this as applying to you. Blessedness was yours-not death. Your passing was not your arrival at perfection, nor did your departure bestow security on you. For to you the beginning, the middle and end of all the good things that are beyond minds, their security and true confirmation, was your conceiving without male seed, God's dwelling in you, your childbearing without damage [to your virginity] So you truly predicted that you would be called blessed by all generations, bot from the moment of death but from the very moment of that conception (Lk. 1:48). Therefore death has not made you blessed, but you have yourself made death glorious; you have destroyed its horror and shown death to be a joy.
Forefeast of the Dormition of the Theotokos
Dance with joy, O peoples! Clap your hands with gladness! Gather today with fervor and jubilation; sing with exultation. The Mother of God is about to rise in glory, ascending from earth to heaven. We ceaselessly praise her in song as truly Theotokos.
Kontakion, Tone 4
Today the universe dances with joy at your glorious memorial, and cries out to you, O Mother of God: "Rejoice, O Virgin, pride of Christians!"