Luke 2, 22-40 “When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel,and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, 28he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation,which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”
—AND TO VENERABLE MOTHER MARY OF AGREDA: “My daughter, the doctrine and example contained in this Mystery will teach thee to strive after the constancy and expansion of heart by which thou mayest prepare thyself to accept blessings and adversity, the sweet and the bitter, with equanimity. “How persistently the human heart forgets that its Teacher and Master has first accepted sufferings, and has honored and sanctified them in His own Person! “Remember the sorrow that pierced my heart at the prophecies of Simeon, and how I remained in peace and tranquility, even though my heart and soul were transfixed by a sword of pain. “Seek ever to preserve inward peace. “Full of trust in me, whenever tribulation comes over thee, fervently exclaim: “‘ The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?’”
THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN: “I did not need purification, like other women, because my Son who was born of me, made me clean. Nevertheless, that the Law and the prophecies might be fulfilled, I chose to live according to the Law. Nor did I live like worldly parents, but humbly conversed with the humble. Nor did I wish to show anything extraordinary in me, but loved whatever was humble. “On that day (of the Purification) my pain was increased. For though by divine inspiration I knew that my Son was to suffer, yet this grief pierced my heart more keenly at Simeon’s words. And until I was assumed in body and soul to Heaven, this grief never left my heart, although it was tempered by the consolation of the Spirit of God. Let not, then, this grief leave thy heart, for without tribulation few would reach Heaven.”
Brown, Raphael (2011-02-28). The Life of Mary As Seen by the Mystics (p. 132). TAN Books. Kindle Edition.
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“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), and thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed’” (Luke 2:33-35).
Today marks the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. It celebrates the holy convergence of Jesus the Messiah with His people who faithfully waited for His coming. Traditionally, the feast is celebrated with the greatest of joys and thanksgivings. Forty days after the solemnity of Christmas, Mary and Joseph consecrated Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, showing their obedience to God and fulfilling the Mosaic Law. Simeon, a just and devout man, utters a prophecy that Jesus will be the light of the Gentiles and the glory of Israel. Anna thanks God for the child and talks about him to all who looked to God for the deliverance of Jerusalem. Amid their joy looms the shadow of the cross, the opposition Jesus will face and the sword of suffering Mary, too, will experience.
Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD