Mary’s role in Providence
kernalan said: Where does Christ, or any of His apostles, state that Mary has a role in Providence? I’m just curious as to how St. Ambrose got that idea.
First of all, sorry of my late reply. I am asnwering based to the help of my dear friend Andrei:
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the sola Scriptura principle has no value; which means that not only what Christ or the Apostles say are important to us, but also what our Holy Fathers say. And this is because the Fathers also had the experience of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the same Holy Spirit that keeps the Church (this action is called, in Greek πρόνοια, in Romanian pronie, in English providence), and the same Holy Spirit that Christ and His Apostles had and have. So, since the Holy Fathers, and after them, all the people we recognize as Saints, had and have this Holy Spirit, which is what the Church breathes, we can say that the values Christ and the Apostles taught us are the same values of the Church and of the Holy Fathers, and all our Saints, until today - this is what makes us truely Orthodox - the Holy Spirit, which we receive through the Holy Mysteries and hierourgies.
So, for us, it is not so important if a teaching is not findable in the Holy Bible; if we can find that teaching in the thinking and writings of the majority of our Holy Fathers and Saints, then the teaching is a legitimate teaching, and it is protected by the Church. A good example for this is the Feast of the Dormition (here you need to stress a little: YES, the DORMITION, not the Assumption - because Mary died a natural death, see here), which is not in the Holy Scriptures: does this mean that it didn’t happen? If we apply the sola Scriptura here, does this mean the Feast is wrong? No, our Holy Fathers talk about it reverently and beautiful. The Catholic Church has the Feast, although changed a little. We, the Orthodox have the Feast.
Returning to the question: if Saint Ambrose considered that the Mother of God has a role in God’s providence, then we MUST assume he was/is right, because he is a Saint of God, and thus he has a double authority for us: an authority as our father (Saint), and our recognition (as a Saint), because he contemplated God. This is where he “got the idea” of the role of the Mother of God in the providence.
On the other hand, the Mother of God certainly HAS a role in the providence: if it wasn’t for her, Christ wouldn’t have been born there and then, and the world would have been different; when Virgin Mary accepted to give birth to Christ (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word”), she had the fate of the world in her hands - she was the most pure, most important person in the history of our salvation. Had she refused, we wouldn’t have been here, discussing high Theology about this. The Mother of God also is the intercessor for us to God: Most Holy Theotokos, have mercy upon us!, Most Holy Theotokos, pray to God for us!, Most Holy Theotokos, protect us! - there is no Orthodox service in which the Most Holy Theotokos is not remembered. In Orthodoxy, the heaven is always connected to the world, the Saints are active, they are not dead, as the Protestants say. For us, the Mother of God is the most holy human being - she is the only one who carried in her womb God, this is why we call her Holy Chruch, Holy Temple, talking heaven and so on. To us, the Mother of God has countless names. She is our great help in life and at the Judgement. The whole nature rejoices because of you, the angelic choirs and the human being.
So how can’t she have a role in God’s providence?! She is the Empress of the World! She shall judge us at the Final Judgement, together with the Holy Apostles! The most beautiful Orthodox prayers are dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos: My all-good Empress, and my hope, o Theotokos, the receiver of the poor and the help of the strangers, the joy of the ones in sorrows and the protector of those in troubles, see my trouble, see my need; help me as a helpless man, feed me as a stranger. You know my trouble: untie it as you want, because I have no other help, I have no other fast helper, no other good conforter, but only you, o Theotokos, so protect me and defend me unto ages of ages. Amen!
God bless you!