On the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, we celebrate the fact that Our Lady’s parents brought her to the Temple at the age of three and handed her over to live there for a long period as a consecrated virgin where she might exclusively contemplate God.
There is a special beauty to this feast since it highlights the fact that Our Lady was chosen even before time began. She is called the root of Jesse (Isaiah, 11:1) from which Our Lord Jesus Christ would be born.
She is introduced to the synagogue, the institution in charge of keeping this promise. Thus, the synagogue receives Our Lady as a first step. In this act, the hopes of ages would soon be fulfilled.
Our Lady, a supremely holy soul, is received in the Temple and entered into the service of God.
Despite the corruption of the nation of Israel and the transformation of the Temple into a den of the Pharisees, an incomparable light appeared: the sanctity of Our Lady.
Unknowingly, Our Lady began to prepare herself to become the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In an atmosphere of grace in the Temple, she was set apart from everyone in order to serve God.
She increased her love of God until she formed the ardent desire for the imminent coming of the Messiah and asked God if she might have the honour to be the servant of His Mother.
She did not know that she was the one chosen for this honour. That is why she was perplexed when the Archangel Gabriel greeted her to ask her permission for the Incarnation.
Our Lady’s magnificent preparation to be the Mother of Jesus Christ began with her Presentation in the Temple, a feast the Church celebrates on November 21.
It is fitting that we ask Our Lady to prepare us with the best of Catholic doctrine to serve God by serving her.
We should present ourselves before Our Lady, asking her to assist us in taking up the task of our sanctification, as the Holy Ghost did with her in the Temple of Jerusalem.
Here follows another beautiful tract about
MARY’S LIFE IN THE TEMPLE
by Father Raymond De Thomas De Saint-Laurent
Saints Joachim and Anne proved their gratitude to God by consecrating their daughter to the service of the Temple. Such a practice was nothing out of the ordinary for the chosen people of God. For generations, a given number of young girls would devote their lives to working in the service of the Temple from childhood until their wedding day in the House of the Lord. There they received the education commonly given to women of Israel in their day.
When the Virgin Mary attained the age of three, her pious parents fulfilled their promise to the Lord. Despite the immense sorrow of losing their tender, gracious, and gentle child, they took her to Jerusalem. The Immaculate Virgin, who enjoyed the use of her reason from the moment she was born, understood the significance of this act. Her affectionate heart was torn when she left her parents, but she surrendered herself to God with all the fervour of her will and love.
For the next twelve years the Queen of Heaven lead a hidden and very ordinary life, never suspecting the honour that awaited her. Mary knew she had received exceptional favours. She sensed the absence of any interior temptation, the fire of love burning within her heart, and the incomparable and frequent ecstasies. But she attributed her extraordinary virtues to God alone, taking no merit for them whatsoever.
Her exterior manner reflected this humility. She was docile to her tutors and the priests, listening to their lessons with respectful attention and submitting to their opinions. This rare humility enchanted the Blessed Trinity. Saint Bernard said it was by her humility that Mary became the Mother of God.
In the Temple, Mary preferred herself to no one and had no suspicion of the sublime mission God had reserved for her.
Let us sincerely examine our consciences. God cannot pour His gifts into a proud heart. If you seriously want to progress in the way of perfection, beg the Queen of Heaven to inspire you with true humility.
Mary practised many other excellent virtues during her childhood. Our Lady’s childhood, like that of her Divine Son’s, was a time of growth. In the Temple she blossomed in physical beauty and especially in holiness.
Let us ask the holy Virgin to be not only our model but our guide along the way of perfection. She will lead us on the surest and most direct route to God.