The Pious Young Girl
By Father Charles M. Mangan
No where in Sacred Scripture will you find an account of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a child in the Temple; however, there is a solid foundation for belief in this significant event based on the early remembrances passed down from one generation of the disciples of Jesus to another.
In the English edition of "The Liturgy of the Hours," one notes the following explanation of this Memorial that is celebrated annually on November 21: "This Feast commemorates the dedication of the Church of Saint Mary which was built in Jerusalem near the site of the Temple. With Christians of the East, the Latin Church also recalls on this day the tradition according to which Mary as a small child was presented to the Lord by her parents in the Temple."
The Presentation of Mary in the Temple outwardly demonstrated the interior reality: her "belonging" to the Lord. Her unique consecration began from the very moment of her Immaculate Conception. Now, by making her way to the Temple with the support of her noble and devout parents Joachim and Ann, Our Lady personally presented herself to the benevolent Almighty, surrendering herself to His wise will. From then onward, she looked for every opportunity to pray and communicate with Him.
Imagine our increase in genuine holiness--that is, conformity to Christ--when we imitate Mary's self-donation to our Creator. God worked extraordinary things in and through the Ever-Virgin because she was completely open to Him. She refused God nothing. Rather, she gladly spent herself in fulfilling His life-giving commands.
We were presented to the Lord especially at our Baptism and Confirmation. But the reception of these two Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ Himself is not a conclusion but instead serves as a springboard for further occasions to come that will illustrate our clinging to God. Daily we present ourselves to Him and show our readiness to do as He directs. Like Mary, we humbly approach God to accept and embrace His persuasive call to greater love and service.
The Presentation of Mary in the Temple is to be a valuable paradigm for us. We can learn much from it. The Presentation of Mary helps us to remember three things.
First, we yield confidently to the Lord, acknowledging that our lives are His. We must rely on His abundant grace to strengthen us for the sacred mission that He has bestowed on us.
Second, we seize the multiple chances we have for prayer and meditation. Prayer is vital if our relationship with God is to remain strong.
Third, we esteem our local church as a special place to encounter the Lord and listen to His gentle voice. As Catholics, we are particularly blessed to have the Most Blessed Sacrament in our local church.
The mystery of Mary presented in the Temple inspires us to select the path she chose: generous and total cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Such a trusting posture will pay huge dividends for us in this life and the next.
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