Monday, November 20, 2006

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tomorrow is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple.

Although not mentioned in the canonical books of Scripture, the Presentation of Our Lady is a cherished observance of both Eastern and Western Churches. This beautiful feast speaks of Our Blessed Lady, being brought by her parents, Anna and Joachim to the temple in Jerusalem to be consecrated to God's service. Later on, tradition tells us, Mary will go out again of this holy temple, this time with Joseph, soon to become the glorious Temple of God's holy Son.

Since October, I have been preparing a batch of kids now from Reedley International School for the their receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this coming Saturday. I couldn't help but remember them as I write about this wonderful feast. Imagine these young boys and girls committing to God (I hope!) even at a very young age. I also recall myself entering the minor seminary at the early age of twelve. How wonderful indeed that God calls us to his side so lovingly and tenderly even from our youth! Even from the womb, he knew us and loved us! As I look at the image of Our Lady, barely able to climb the steps of the Temple, I immediately call to mind Saint Therese's elevator. Indeed, in her life and ours, all is accomplished only through God's magnanimous grace.

And so let us pray to our Lady as we honor her Presentation in the Temple, to obtain for us from her Son the grace of surrendering to the Father's love. Let us thank God too for our parents who have been instruments of bringing us to God even at our tender age.

Mary, Temple of the Incarnate Word,
Dwelling of God-dwelling-among-us, pray for us!

"Hail, holy throne of God,
divine sanctuary,
house of glory,
jewel most fair,
chosen treasure house,
and mercy seat for the whole world,
heaven showing forth the glory of God.

Purest Virgin,
worthy of all praise,
sanctuary dedicated to God
and raised above all human condition,
virgin soil,
unplowed field,
flourishing vine,
fountain pouring out waters,
virgin bearing a child,
mother without knowing man,
hidden treasure of innocence,
ornament of sanctity,
by your most acceptable prayers,
strong with the authority of motherhood,
to our Lord and God, Creator of all,
your Son who was born of you without a father,
steer the ship of the Church
and bring it to a quiet harbor"

(from a homily by St. Germanus
on the Presentation of the Mother of God)

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