Early this week I spent time at the bedside of Daylan Constantinos Damianakos-Marshall, praying for him, and waiting for the dread event of his passing away, which came peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday. Joined by his mother, father, brothers, family and friends, it seemed as if the world, and even time had stopped, and all that mattered was the love and concern for Daylan and each other. No vanity, no hunger, no thirst, no care for anything except the love of a dying boy. Truly a vigil.
We see this action in the icon of the Dormition. The Apostles and Church assembled together, their concerned and grieved faces, and the focus they have on Mother of God, all sharing in this event where time, and the world seem to wait. This is the vigil the Church asks us to consider during this fast.
Are we aware enough of Christ’s saving love for us, to put aside what we would consider “normal” life. Do those distractions, and details that at the end of the day do nothing but confuse and water down life, account for real meaning and peace. They didn’t for Daylan’s friends and family (all that was there was a profound love), or for the Apostles, or anyone who has faced with loss or death, why should it be for us?
The icon of this feast also shows Jesus holing an infant, the soul of the Theotokos reborn in the Kingdom. As she was the best that humanity could offer the Lord in the Incarnation, so she in her sinless life (by choice and not by some divine protection) is the first of humanity to be fully (body and soul) raised into the Kingdom.
In the final days of this fast, let us consider the love of Christ as a priority, affecting how we eat, how we entertain ourselves, how we interact with each other, and how we pray.
Maybe we can’t stop time or the world, but we can slow it down enough through fasting and prayer, to see the mercy of God poured out for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and his Most holy Mother, the Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary. Through this effort, may we also see that the hope and grace shown in this feast, is also poured out for Daylan, and all our loved ones who have passed on before us. The hope of that last and blessed day when we are raised, and death is truly vanquished.
May Daylan’s memory be eternal, and may we have a blessed and holy feast.