Hail Mary, in your presentation! As a pure Host of Abandon. O Virgin and Mother, by this mystery give me devotion. ~Saint Louis de Montfort
GREATER DOUBLE / WHITE
An ancient tradition holds that Our Lady was conducted by her parents to the Temple at Jerusalem to be consecrated entirely to God when she was three years old. This meeting of the ancient Temple of God and the new “Temple of the Savior” reminds us of the continuity between the Old Law and the New. For Mary, the Mother of God’s new People, was the personification and completion of all that was good in the Old Testament. Her Magnificat shows that she was steeped in the Scriptures and Law of her fathers: Even as He spoke to our fathers — to Abraham and to his posterity forever”(St. Luke 1:55).
The Blessed Virgin was presented in the temple at Jerusalem by her pious parents, Joachim and Ann, there to be educated in the service and the law of the Lord in order that she might be guarded against the defilements of the world. From this we learn:
- Joachim and Ann offered to the Lord their only and most beloved child, and gave her up entirely to His service. Great as the sacrifice was, they yet made it. The preservation of the innocence of their daughter was to them above all else. Parents, God requires of you that you should not merely offer your children to Him in the temple, but that you should take care to keep them pure and holy, as living temples which have been consecrated in Baptism.
- Mary gives and dedicates herself to God as soon as she is capable of serving Him, and that without any reservation, for all time, and irrevocably. When, then, shall we give ourselves in earnest to God? True, we have been given to Him in holy Baptism, we have been consecrated as His temples, we have renounced the devil and the world, we have vowed to live only for God, and this vow we have, perhaps, often renewed; but have we kept it? What we gave with one hand, have we not taken it away with the other? Have we not defiled the temple of our hearts by shameful lusts, lived for the world and vanity more than for God? Ah, when shall we give ourselves up to God sincerely and forever? Perhaps when we are old! But will God accept our offering then? Will He be pleased that we begin to serve Him only when we can no longer serve the world? that we first begin to live for Him when our life is soon to cease? No; God is a jealous Lord, and is not pleased with a heart divided between Him and creatures. He requires us to love Him with all our heart and all our soul, and to serve Him with all our powers. Let us, then, do this, and do it from our youth; let us keep ourselves in body and soul undefiled for the Lord; such love, and such love only, will He reward as perfect.
O God, Who wast pleased that the blessed Mary, ever virgin, the habitation of the Holy Ghost, should on this day be presented in the temple, grant, we beseech Thee, that by her intercession we may deserve to be presented in the temple of Thy glory. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:14-16
From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before Him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God His inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.
Gospel: Luke 11:27, 28
And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.
By His answer Jesus would have us understand that His Mother was not to be blessed merely because she bore Him, the Son of God, but rather because she at all times endeavored to keep the word of God in her heart and to observe it in her life. If you would be blessed, learn to be not only a hearer, but a doer, of the word of God.
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to God, His divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some among the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the Temple, to be brought up in quarters attached to the Temple, attending the priests and Levites in their sacred ministry. There were special divisions in these lodgings for the women and children dedicated to the divine service. (III Kings 6:5-9) We have examples of this special consecration of children in the person of Samuel, for example. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. It is very probable that the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who witnessed the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as we read in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 25 ff.) had known His Mother as a little girl in the Temple and observed her truly unique sanctity.
It is an ancient and very trustworthy tradition that the Blessed Virgin was thus solemnly offered in the Temple to God at the age of three by Her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. The Gospel tells us nothing of the childhood of Mary; Her title Mother of God, eclipses all the rest. Where, better than in the Temple, could Mary be prepared for Her mission? Twelve years of recollection and prayer, contemplation and sufferings, were the preparation of the chosen one of God. The tender soul of Mary was adorned with the most precious graces and became an object of astonishment and praise for the holy Angels, as well as of the highest complacency for the adorable Trinity. The Father looked upon Her as His beloved Daughter, the Son as One set apart and prepared to become His Mother, and the Holy Ghost as His undefiled Spouse.
Here is how Mary’s day in the Temple was apportioned, according to Saint Jerome. From dawn until nine in the morning, She prayed; from 9:00 until 3:00 She applied Herself to manual work; then She turned again to prayer. She was always the first to undertake night watches, the One most applied to study, the most fervent in the chanting of Psalms, the most zealous in works of charity, the purest among the virgins, Her companions, the most perfect in the practice of every virtue. On this day She appears as the standard-bearer for Christian virginity: after Her will come countless legions of virgins consecrated to the Lord, both in the shadow of the altars or engaged in the charitable occupations of the Church in the world. Mary will be their eternal Model, their dedicated Patroness, their sure guide on the paths of perfection.
Reflection: The consecration of Mary to God presented all the conditions of the most perfect sacrifice: it was prompt, generous, joyous, unregretted, without reservation. How agreeable it must have been to God! May our consecration of ourselves to God be made under Her patronage, assisted by Her powerful intercession and united with Her ineffable merits.
~Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to the divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some amongst the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the temple, to be lodged in apartments belonging to the temple, and brought up in attending the priests and Levites in the sacred ministry. It is an ancient tradition, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was thus solemnly offered to God in the temple in her infancy. This festival of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, the Church celebrates this day. The tender soul of Mary was then adorned with the most precious graces, an object of astonishment and praise to the angels, and of the highest complacence to the adorable Trinity; the Father looking upon her as His beloved daughter, the Son as one chosen and prepared to become His mother, and the Holy Ghost as His darling spouse. Mary was the first who set up the standard of virginity; and, by consecrating it by a perpetual vow to our Lord, she opened the way to all virgins who have since followed her example.
Reflection – Mary’s first presentation to God was an offering most acceptable in His sight. Let our consecration of ourselves to God be made under her patronage, and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits.
~Pictorial Lives of the Saints with Reflections for Every Day in the Year, a compiled from “Butler’s Lives” and other Approved Sources
When she was only three years old, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem by her holy parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. Mary’s whole life was to belong to God because He had chosen her to be the Mother of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Blessed Virgin was happy to begin serving God in the Temple of Jerusalem, even though she had to leave her dear father and mother. And St. Joachim and St. Anne were content to offer their saintly little girl to God, for they knew that He had sent her to them.
In the Temple, the High Priest received the child Mary among the maidens who were dedicated to prayer and the service of the Temple. He kissed and blessed the holy child, seeing that the Lord had great plans for her. Then he set her down upon the altar step. Mary did not weep or turn back to her parents. She came so happily to the altar that everyone in the Temple loved her at once.
St. Joachim and St. Anne went back home, praising God for their blessed daughter. And Mary remained in the Temple, where she grew more beautiful and holy every year. She spent her days in loving God, reading the Bible, praying and serving the priests of the Temple. She made beautiful linens and splendid vestments, and was loved by all the other young girls because she was so kind. In doing each of her duties well, to please God, the Blessed Virgin Mary gained immense grace and gave glory to the Lord.
~ Every morning I will offer myself to God with my whole heart. ~
~ Saints for Young People, Imprimatur 1963
- Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Missa ‘Salve Sancta Parens’ – Latin Mass Propers Online PDF
- The Chant of Le Barroux: Office for 2016-11-21