The Presentation of the Temple
"Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:25-35
Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, also called Candlemas for it is the day we traditionally have the year's candles blessed, for the significance that Christ is the Light of the world.
"a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel"
On this day, when Jesus was presented at the temple for the first time, the Blessed Mother, according to Jewish law, presented herself for purification. Of course, Our Blessed Mother didn't need purification, neither on earth or for heaven. As in all things, she was obedient.
As Catholics, we believe we need purification to be united with God in heaven. The catechism states, "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." CCC 1030
Many saints believe that pain on earth purifies us. St. John of the Cross said pain is in direct proportion to our need for purification. Whether that pain is on earth or in purgatory, is physical or mental, is as unique as is each soul. How divine that Our Blessed Mother, upon her purification at the temple, was told that her greatest joy, her son, would also be the cause of her greatest pain.
"you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed"
If you are a mother, a parent, you know the pain you experience when your child is hurt, physically or emotionally. How many parents have said, "I would rather take this pain than watch my child suffer"? Our Blessed Mother knew that she would suffer, yet she was obedient to God in all things. She saw the pain that her son experienced and experienced it tenfold in her own heart.
We must mediate on the pain Our Blessed Mother experienced, the seven sorrows of Mary, and learn from them, learn obedience in all things, because through pain we are purified. By uniting our own pain and sorrow with the Blessed Mother, we unite ourselves more closely with Our Lord, and through the pain we become closer to attaining heaven. When we unite ourselves with Mary, we unite ourselves with Jesus because she leads us to Him.
In anticipation of Lent beginning in a few short weeks (February 22), I will give away a Seven Sorrows of Mary chaplet, on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is not yet made, so I can't give you a peek, but it will be a keeper, I promise. And if used to pray and meditate on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, will have value beyond this world.
Leave a comment on this post, with a way to contact you, between now and the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11), to enter your name in the drawing.