Monday, May 12, 2014

Exodus and Entering
The Portaitissa

"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore."--Ps 120:8

The blessings of the Lord are manifold, manifest and hidden, in an infinite myriad of places, times, and circumstances.  We are called to bless the Lord at all times, for He is the One Who first blesses us at all times, in all of our doings.  The Lover of Mankind loves us so much that He loves us in every time, and He wishes our good.  When we ask Him to bless us in all our doings, even with the simple prayer, "Lord, give Your blessing," we are merely asking Him to act on the love He already has for us; we are pleading the loving Father to continually love us as He already does.

Among the various times He blesses us are when we go out and come in at all times.  The psalm says it well: in the Greek, He keeps every exodus and eisodus (entering) of ours.  We can see in the history of salvation how He guarded the exodus and entering of the sons of Israel, from the earliest times.  He watched over His people even as, for instance, they exited Eden.  He watched over Noah going out to sea, He watched over Abraham going out from his homeland, He watched Moses and the Israelites as they went out from Egypt.  He watched them as they came in, as well: as they entered the Promised Land from the desert, as they re-entered it from Exile.  And His providence continued with the Church, as the Spirit directs and watches over every exodus and entering of hers.

In every small travel of ours, as each exodus and entering is a small travel, the Lord watches over us, and we should pray Him to do so.  We should pray Him to send His angel to guard us, particularly St. Raphael, who kept Tobias on his journey.  At every door we should pray: "Keep my exodus and entering in forevermore."  In our homes we can remember this by placing icons at the side of the door: the Portaitissa icon of the Theotokos is used specifically for this reason.  The sons of Israel place Scripture on their door frames: would not this be something we could do as well, and could we not also put icons?  In short, we should always have reminders of the Lord's love for us, reminders that urge us to pray and to thank Him.  In every place of His dominion, we should pray to Him and bless Him, for He guards every exodus and entering in.  Whenever we go out and come in, then, let us pray for the Lord's protection (and for that of the Theotokos, for she covers us with her mantle), and let us thank Him after He leads us in peace.  Glory to Jesus Christ, for He is risen!

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