(Following on from here…)
Then Adam and Eve, our first parents, opened their lips to exclaim:
“Thou blessed daughter of ours, who hast removed the penalty of our disobedience!
“Thou, inheriting from us a mortal body, hast won us immortality. Thou, taking thy being from us, hast given us back the being in grace.
“Thou hast conquered pain and loosened the bondage of death. Thou hast restored us to our former state.
“We had shut the door of paradise; thou didst find entrance to the tree of life. Through us sorrow came out of good; through thee good from sorrow.
“How canst thou who art all fair taste of death ? Thou art the gate of life and the ladder to heaven.
“Death is become the passage to immortality. O thou truly blessed one! Who that is not the Word could have borne what thou hast borne?”
All the company of the saints exclaimed:
“Thou hast fulfilled our predictions. Thou hast purchased our present joy for us. Through thee we have broken the chains of death.
“Come to us, divine and life-giving receptacle. Come, our desire, thou who hast gained us our desire.”
And the saints standing by added their no less burning words:
“Remain with us, our comfort, our sole joy in this world. O Mother leave us not orphans who have suffered on thy Son’s account.
“May we have thee as a refuge and refreshment in our labours and weariness. Thou canst remain if thou so willest, even as thou canst depart hence.
“If thou departest, O dwelling-place of God let us go too, if we are thine through thy Son. Thou art our sole consolation on earth. We live as long as thou livest, and it is bliss to die with thee.
“Why do we speak of death? Death is life to thee, and better than life – incomparably exceeding this life. How is our life life, if we are deprived of thee?”
The apostles and all the assembly of the Church may well have addressed some such words to the blessed Virgin.
When they saw the Mother of God near her end and longing for it, they were moved by divine grace to sing farewell hymns, and wrapt out of the flesh, they sighed to accompany the dying Mother of God, and anticipated death through intensity of will.
When they had all satisfied their duty of loving reverence and had woven her a rich crown of hymns, they spoke a parting blessing over her, as a God-given treasure, and the last words.
These, I should think, were significant of this life’s fleetingness, and of its leading to the hidden mysteries of future goods.
John Damascene (c.675-749): Homily 2 on the Dormition of the Theotokos @Monachos.net.