Tag Archives: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Presentation of Mary in the Temple

Presentation of Mary in the TempleThe feast of the Presentation of Mary is a contemplation on we relate to the Temple following Mary as the Perfect Disciple (the paradigmatic believer), relate to us. This feast asks the question of how we, in our bodies, are meant to live in the Temple of the Lord. Our bodies are meant for the Lord. You ought to read Saint Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians in the 6th chapter: our bodies are members of Christ. So, what is it that we are called by the Lord? What is Mary’s place in the economy of Salvation and how do we relate to the same economy? What has happened to us in Christ?

We the Church we pray:

As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace.

We need to appeal to the Byzantine Liturgy which proclaims,

“Today is the prelude to God’s munificence, and the announcement of salvation: in the Temple of God the Virgin is seen openly, foretelling to all the coming of Christ…The most pure temple of the Savior, his most precious bridal chamber, the Virgin, sacred treasury of God’s glory, enters today into the house of the Lord, bringing with her the grace of the divine Spirit. Wherefore the angels of God are singing: “Behold the heavenly tabernacle!…Wherefore let us cry out to her with all our strength: ‘Joy to you fulfillment of the Creator’s plan!'” At the moment when the young girl Mary was presented in the glorious Temple “everything that humans build was already diminished by the praise in her heart” (Rilke)

As a Benedictine Oblate, today is the day we renew our Oblation to our particular monasteries. As Through the intercession of Mary of the Temple may we Oblates recognize our true end in Christ. The hymn verse says it all: “Today, this day, is the day of the Lord. Rejoice, people, for lo, the bridal chamber of the Light, the book of the Word of Life, the Temple of the living God, has come forth from the womb, and the gate facing east, newly born, awaits the entrance of the great High Priest. She alone brings into the world the one and only Christ for the salvation of our souls.” God became flesh through Mary. So we should also be the Temple of the Lord today.

Here is an exposition of this feast by the Orthodox priest Father Thomas Hopko on Ancient Faith Ministries.

Presentation of Mary in the Temple

Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos

The Church liturgically honors Mary in her being Presentation in the Temple. The Byzantine Church calls the memorial The Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple. It is one of the 12 Great Feasts.

Mary, Ark of the Covenant, pray for us.

Saint Gregory Palamas orients our thoughts today:

With profound understanding she listened to the writings of Moses and the revelations of the other prophets when, every Saturday, all the people gathered outside, as the Law ordained. She learned about Adam and Eve and everything that happened to them: how they were brought out of non-being, settled in paradise and given a commandment there; about the evil one’s ruinous counsel and the resulting theft; about their expulsion from paradise on that account, the loss of immortality and the change to this way of life full of pain.

She saw that as time passed, life continued under the inherited curse and grew even worse, God’s creature made in His image was estranged from the Creator and became more and more closely associated with the one who had evilly schemed to crush him. No one was capable of putting an end to this impulse which brings destruction on all men alike, or to the uncheckable rush of humankind towards hell.

When the holy Virgin heard and understood this, she was filled with pity for humanity and, with the aim of finding a remedy to counteract this great affliction, she resolved at once to turn with her whole mind to God. She took it upon herself to represent us, to constrain Him Who is above compulsion, and quickly draw Him towards us, that He might remove the curse from among us, halt the advance of the fire burning men’s souls, weaken our enemies, answer our prayers, shine upon us with light that never sets and, having healed our sickness, unite His creatures with Himself.”

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Entrance of the BVM in the Temple.jpgThe liturgical memorial celebrated today is an odd feast for some in the West: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in the Byzantine East it’s sometimes referred to as the Entrance of the Virgin in the Temple. A slight difference with no real distinction.

Liturgical history tells us that the feast was observed in Jerusalem in the 6th century. A church was built to Mary’s honor. In the West the feast was introduced in the 11th century but it has disappeared for a time from the Church’s calendar and then in the 16th century it was given to the Church to be observed universally.
The tradition of the Church –that is, it is only spoken of in apocryphal literature– is that the parents of Mary, Saints Joachim and Anna, praying for the miracle of a child received from God a baby they longed to have: Mary. Their prayer and vow to God was dedicate the child to Him, and His service. One slight possible problem. Jews at this time in history only brought to the Temple their baby sons, not their baby daughters. At least that’s what some scholars of the Law taught. This unhistorical account of Mary’s presentation known to us from the Protoevangelium of James gives the churches a liturgical observance. Nevertheless, little did Mary’s parents realize what it meant to fulfill their promise of dedicating their daughter in the Temple to God’s service. Salvation history would never be the same.
Psalms connected with the Presentation in the Temple: with lighted candles: Ps. 44/45: 14-15; 119/120 to 133/134.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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