Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is referred to many times in the Sacred Scriptures. She is with the apostles at Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descends on her and all the apostles. She spends a lot of time in the home of St John the Evangelist.

The apostles visit her often after the Resurrection of Jesus. Tradition has it, that they are all in the home when she falls asleep in the Lord. The apostles spread her fame during their missionary work.

Our church calls her “the ladder to heaven”. She, as Jesus, is taken up to heaven bodily. Mary is our hope for our own personal resurrection from the dead.

Our Ukrainian Byzantine Church holds the Virgin Mary in very high regard.

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A big majority of Eastern Churches in the world carry the name of the Blessed Virgin. There are four parishes which are named after the “Pokrov” or the “Protection of the Mother of God in Australia. She is a very big part of our prayer life. Mary plays a major role in our spirituality.

Mary is very popular in the Bible. She does not speak much, but rather listens to the Word of God, and says, “Yes”. At the Annunciation, she tells God, Yes, “let it be done to me as you say” (Luke 1:38), and just as the Mary in the Gospel who sits at the feet and listens to the His teaching, Mary, the mother of Jesus, listened to Jesus all His life. The Bible mentions this a few times.

Mary does not give Jesus advice, but rather listens to the Word of God.

Today we love to give advice, rather than to listen to good advice from God. The Bible tells us to listen to our parents, grandparents and others and believe their advice comes from God after their life of prayer and service.

We all have many needs in our life. It can be in times of bad health, family troubles, political unrest, wars, conflicts and natural disasters. Throughout history, during these times, our people have turned to Mary to intercede on their behalf with Jesus, her Son. Mary, the listener, always hears our prayer and turns to Jesus. We have a true friend in Mary.

It was my parents and grandparents who taught me to know and to love the Blessed Virgin, and to pray to her. It is our obligation to teach our children and all faithful to love her and to carry on our traditions of praying to her for her Son’s protection.