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Like A Virgin

November 21, 2012

November 21, 2012, Wednesday, Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time: Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Zechariah 2: 14-17. Rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming.

Matthew 12:46-50. Stretching out his hands towards his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.”

Reflection:

According to an early tradition, as a small child, the Blessed Virgin Mary was presented by her parents to the Lord in the Temple.  This celebration today reveals her total dedication to God’s service as well as obedience to God’s will.

Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today’s liturgy.  For something of a historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangelium of St. James (ch. 4:1ff) around A.D. 145.  After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord.  Soon after birth the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel’s daughters were admitted. At the age of three she was transferred to the temple proper (7:2). According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel (8:1).

“In the East, where the feast, celebrated since the eighth century, is kept as a public holiday, it bears the name, ‘The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple’.  Prayers taken from the Melkite liturgy for the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple:

“Today Anne brings us glad tidings, bearing in her arms the precious fruit that dispels all sorrow, the one being ever-precious fruit that dispels all sorrow, the one being ever-virginal. In fulfillment of her vow, she joyfully presents on this day in the Lord’s temple the true tabernacle of the Word of God, His immaculate Mother.

The angels were stunned as they beheld the most pure one coming in, and they said: O Wonder. The Virgin enters into the Holy of Holies. O Mother of God, you are the precious Ark of God: no profane hand may touch you. But the lips of the faithful will never cease to sing your praise, repeating with joy the angel’s word: O pure Virgin, you are indeed raised above all creatures” (Pius Parsch, The Church’s Year of Grace).

In Lumen Gentium – Light of the Nations –Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, states, “The predestination of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God was associated with the Incarnation of the divine word: in the designs of divine Providence she was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. … Thus, in a very special way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls.  For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace” (LG, Ch VIII).

Amen.

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