It has been said that true veneration is the stepping stone to true adoration.
Let’s unpack this insight. The wisdom of the faith calls us to learn how to truly and fully adore God. It is why I, personally, never use the word “adore” for anything but the Holy Trinity. Adoration carries the traits of humility, devotion, deep affection and love, and intimacy. But how do I develop the heart-felt ability to adore God?
The wisdom of the faith suggest we reach true adoration by learning how to truly venerate those that are less than God. It is the way respect leads to admiration.
This is the wisdom behind the Church calling us to venerate icons, but more importantly why the Church calls us to venerate the Theotokos. One of our race has humbly accepted to become what we are all called to become – the habitation of our God. One of our race, our flesh and blood, has offered her free “yes” to the loving offer of God to become His gateway into creation.
It is precisely why the Church offers hymns and even the beautiful Akathist service we offered last night to the Theotokos.
If we can’t learn how to properly honor this great Lady, how will we ever achieve the lofty gift of truly adoring God? We will succumb to the modern horror of treating our Lord as a “buddy” or “my best friend.” Now, to be sure, our Lord is a “friend that sticks closer than a brother” but if we fail to plumb the reality of His divine uncreated glory, we will constantly be struggling with a diminished and therefore lessened importance in our daily lives. We will fail to adore Him.
So, today, let us learn the lessons of veneration and adoration by fully entering into the wisdom of the faith and learning the lessons of appreciating the power of veneration to teach us how to adore God. For it is only in learning to adore God that I can actually embrace my true calling.
Today, honor one another and worship the Uncreated Lover of all mankind.