Protection of the Birthgiver of God
It has always seemed strange and tragic whenever adoptive children appeared ashamed of their relationship with their parents, Adoption should not be something to hide. If I were adopted, I would want to know it; I would want to tell it, to shout it out because I would be proud and pleased I was wanted, even needed.
You see, everyone human child is born, but only a few adopted. Many births are unfortunately, accidental and even undesired, but parents always want the child they have adopted. We have always heard this, and we have dismissed it but there is a particular ring of truthful value here which makes the adopted child particularly special.
Those who rear him and those who love him have particularly and specifically chosen to do so. Circumstances in life did not force them.
The adopted child has rights and expectations that were not his as an orphan. Now he has a new name and all the legal and social privileges that accompany it. He has a new identity and now he shares in the resources of the new home he has entered and joined. He eats and enjoys what his adoptive family enjoys. He dresses as they dress, he has his own bed. He plays in the family yard, goes to school just as the other children in that particular home. He enters into the intimacy of the family that adopts him. He shares their secrets and becomes part and parcel of their values, the way they are, the way they think and the way they act. He becomes an heir, with full rights to a share of his father's estate. While his parents live, he enjoys the fruit of their labor and a portion of their temporal and spiritual riches in all the things they provide him. He enjoys the dignity of their good name and reputation. So, we see it is a unique honor to be adopted, an honor that everyone can enjoy because we are in fact, all adopted.
Our heavenly Father calls us his children, but that is not all. When we submit to Christ, when we live our vibrant faith commitment response to God, when we live a rich spiritual life in the sacramental Mysteries of the Church of Christ, notably by saying we believe in him with our lips and live with him in our hearts and souls, we live out that adoption manifested in our baptism, chrismation and eucharistic life. Scripture teaches us, "To all who did accept him, he empowered to become children of God" John 1: 12; "You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, 'Abba', 'Father' Romans 8: 15.
We must recognize we are not God's natural children, because the sin of Adam separated us, alienated us, broke our connection, but God has chosen us and made us his rightful inheritance through the mercy and love and sacrificial death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son and our Saviour. We were alien to him, rightfully understood, we were even enemies of his because we were born into sin and anything sinful cannot belong to God, but Christ reconciled us as St. Paul reminds us, "...to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as adopted sons..." Galatians 4: 5. The Apostle to the Gentiles continues, "The proof that you are sons is the fact that our God has sent forth into our hearts the spirit of his son which cries out 'Father"' Galatians 4: 6.
Being a child of God gives us rights and expectations that children who do not believe in him do not know or cannot expect. We are thus made natural born children of our God, not what St. Paul contrarywise describes if we exclude ourselves from his grace and loving protection.
This feast of the Protection of the Birthgiver of God enunciates dramatically and accurately as well as emphatically what our relation to the eternal Father is. People in trouble in the tenth century capital city of Constantinople in prayer gathered in a parish church of the city and expectantly approached their Creator. Their prayer was so devoted, so faithful, so acceptable before heaven's throne that our God could not resist its petition. He had to respond, He had to answer, He was literally constrained to give expression to his enduring love for them. He permitted the attack of infidels on the city population to be thwarted and thus defeated. And this was not the first time such devastating threats occurred in the history of Constantinople, but the third, when faithful people did not have to fight their own defensive battle, but when God heard prayer offered in faith from desperate and devoted and trusting children, and granted a salutary and productive answer.
Later, in 1453 when the final attack took place at the hands of infidels upon the capital city, Constantinople fell drastically to the ground. It lost faith, it lost trust, it tragically lost recognition of being composed of chosen and adopted children of God, its prayers were not longer heard by a responsive Father because the inhabitants of the city became step sons and daughter, not legitimate heirs of the eternal kingdom. They placed themselves outside of God's ability to save them; they wanted to fight their own battles, and not rely on the strength of heaven. They had been living in their own selfimposed exile, so they would remain there.
This holyday drives home for us a meaningful lesson. Being a child of God gives us rights and expectations that children who do not believe in God do not know or cannot expect. We who believe have a new name; it is his name, a new identity, it is Christian! We also enjoy the resources of a generous eternal Father whose heart's desire is to satisfy us and fulfill our needs completely. We now inherit the life that God possesses in himself. We enjoy the spiritual riches that only our God can provide. We are special people; we are chosen and adopted for glory. We should wan to tell it, to share it, to proclaim it We should be fulfilled in body and soul because we belong exclusively to our God.
Today we praise him because He sends the Birthgiver of God to be a medium through which his enduring love is communicated, to be a sign to us He is our loving and protective and providential God and Father!