I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to continue to meditate upon what I wrote about yesterday. Namely, this image of the Theotokos in Orthodox Christian hymnody (this particular verse being sung at the Vespers of the Nativity):
The Virgin is now more spacious than the Heavens; for light has shone upon those in darkness, and has exalted those of low degree who sing like the Angels: Glory to God in the highest.
The Evangelist tells us in Luke 1:31 that the Archangel Gabriel informed our Holy Lady the Theotokos that
You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus
because (Luke 1:35)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.
That is to say, the Holy Spirit descends upon Mary and Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, enters her body. This very same salvific action happens during the Divine Liturgy to Orthodox Christians. The Holy Spirit descends upon us and the gifts set forth and changes the bread and the wine into the very Body and Blood of Christ.
In other words, when we take communion we experience what Mary underwent at the Annunciation. For, as St. Ambrose states in the twelfth chapter of his treatise One the Holy Spirit:
There is communion between the Father and the Son is plain, for it is written: ‘And our communion is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ’ (1 John 1:3). And in another place: ‘The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Cor. 8:14). If, then, the peace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one, the grace one, the love one, and the communion one, the working is certainly one, and where the working is one, certainly the power cannot be divided nor the substance separated. For, if so, how could the grace of the same working agree?
Here, again, we find the marvel of the Incarnation: in the moment we take communion, not only do we experience what the Theotokos underwent at the Annunciation, but we, too, are made more spacious than the Heavens. In that moment we can ask of ourselves: How is that the uncontainable is contained within me?
There is one caveat, here, however. During the Canon of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, celebrated on November 21, we sing repeatedly:
You, O pure and virgin Maiden, are truly superior to all.
We say this because Mary experienced the descent of the Holy Spirit and the Incarnate God within her through faith. In order that the rest of us experience this truly awesome mystery, Christ had to go to the Cross. So, too, must we all pick up our Cross in order to follow Him and experience that which the Theotokos underwent at the Annunciation and become more spacious than the Heavens. Amen.