Vessel of Honor

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz,“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman′u-el. –Isaiah 7:10-14

This is a traditional icon of Mary which is referred to \”Our Lady of the Sign\” or, in Greek, Platytera ton ouranon (Πλατυτέρα των Ουρανών), meaning \”more spacious than the heavens\”. The icon shows Mary at the moment of Jesus\’ conception in her womb. Mary\’s hands are lifted in the ancient orans or praying gesture, and her divine Son is shown as an infant Who is also a king enthroned in majesty, wearing His royal robes and giving His blessing. The title \”Our Lady of the Sign\” refers to the passage from Isaiah above. Although Ahaz pretended humility in refusing to ask for a sign, the Lord gave him one anyway, as prophesied by Isaiah. The Greek title refers to Mary as one whose womb is at the same time a human womb for a child to find a home in and also something indescribably huge.
For how can one human woman bear the Creator of the Universe within her? Truly, this is the work of God. 

Mary, Vessel of Honor, help us to follow your example of humility. When the angel Gabriel appeared to you, you obediently agreed to what God was asking of you. May we too be open to what God is asking of us, and may we remain obedient come what may, as you were. 

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