Presentation of Mary

 The Memorial of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated on November 21st.  The theme of this Memorial is:  total consecration to the Lord through Mary.

Although not mentioned in the Bible, this ancient feast is based on information taken from one of the apocryphal Gospels, the Protevangelium of James.  In it we are told that at the age of three, Mary was taken by her parents to the Temple of Jerusalem, where she was presented and would remain until the age of marriage, in the company of other young girls in the charge of holy women.

 

The Dictionary of Mary [Catholic Book Publishing Co.] gives us some informaiton about the actual history of the Memorial:

This event was already commemorated in the 6th century in the East.  Gregory XI in 1372 heard of the feast, kept in Greece on November 21, and instituted it at Avignon.  In 1585, Sixtus V extended it to the Universal Church. 

If you’re anything like me, you may have wondered how Mary’s parents could possibly have given up their baby girl at the age of three to complete strangers; you may have felt very badly for Mary, assuming she would have felt very abandoned, lonely and frightened – traumatized, in fact. We have a tendency to forget that Mary’s human life was like no other, that she was imbued with mystical knowledge from the time she was within the womb of her mother, and from that very time within her mother’s womb she had no desire other than to serve God and be in complete union with His Will. Venerable Mary of Agreda shares her mystical visions of this time in Mary’s life [The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin, from the Mystical City of God]:

When the time arrived for the accomplishment of the vow which her parents had made, of consecrating her to the service of the Temple, she herself was the first to beg them, with all humility, to fulfill their promise without delay, and she most fervently entreated God to inspire them to do it promptly.  The Lord granted the humble prayer of His beloved, and her parents, obedient to the heavenly inspiration, parted with their amiable child, though not without the deepest sorrow.

The grief of St. Ann, in particular, exceeded even that of Abraham when commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac.  At the expiration of the three years St. Joachim and St. Ann, accompanied by many of their relations and by a great number of angelic spirits, who, during the journey, sang hymns of praise to the Most High, left Nazareth and journeyed to Jerusalem, bearing in their arms their young and happy child.

{I found the image at the Australian EJournal of Theology, which has some lovely artwork, as well as very interesting subject-matter.}

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10 Responses

  1. [audio src="http://www.advancedchristianity.com/Mp3/Mary%20Angela%20Nangini/Poem/Book%2001/01-008%20042-048%20Nangini%20Mary%20Presented.mp3" /]

  2. The above audio file comes from this website,

    http://www.advancedchristianity.com/Index.htm

    which also has many audio files of “Father Vernard Poslusney, considered by many people throughout Austria, Rome and the United States to be one of the greatest Roman Catholic orators that ever lived. He served as a Carmelite retreat director, conducting numerous Conferences, Days of Prayer, Homilies, Lectures, Retreats, Seminars, Sermons, Teachings and Workshops. Some of these were with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in the 1970’s. His stratospheric religious discernment and wisdom has enlightened many on the spirituality of Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Therese of Lisieux, as well as public and private revelation. He was an advisor to the Holy Office, as well as the author of three time-honored books: (Attaining Spiritual Maturity for Contemplation), (Prayer, Aspiration and Contemplation) and (Union with the Lord in Prayer). He was born in 1918, ordained in 1942, and entered Eternal Life on December 15, 2005 at the age of 87.”

    There are audio files of his commentary on the Interior Castle, as well as many other precious things. Check it out!

  3. Hi Pia; thanks for your comments – sorry they got held up in moderation for a while, because of the links.

    I’ve never heard of either Angela Nangini or Fr. Poslusney, but I’ll be listening/taking a look later for sure. You know how I love reading about Carmelite spirituality.

  4. If you have the patience and time to listen to the Nangini file (it’s about 15 minutes long), you’ll see how your thoughts about the child Mary and about her parents are confirmed by Maria as well.

  5. Here it is, now the feast of Christ the King, and it was in a happy flash of a moment that I knew whom else He wanted acknowledged, at least by me, and even to the diminishment of His own due honour. Her raiment was of the softest snow colour, and as He presented her, all of Heaven went quiet. And smile-y. Me, too.

  6. Pia, oh my goodness. I was able to listen to the Angela Nangini audio file, and I was transported… I was in tears. The powerful beauty of it and how it carried me away made me think of something else too. Apart from my contemplative prayer time, I had tried many years ago to practise the Ignatian form of meditation for other times of the day, but was never able to sustain my imagination long enough to really insert myself into a Scripture story and benefit from it the way it was intended. But listening to this, I can see how I would definitely be able to listen to this over and over again as a guided meditation. It was very moving, and I could really feel myself right there.

    Carol, how beautiful. You are so blessed with these timely visions, and we in turn are blessed to hear them, and your detailed descriptions can become something for our own imagination to reflect on. Keep sharing; we so need this kind of uplifting.

  7. On that same site there is another woman who does readings. There is a link on her name on the home page of advanced Christianity. Nancy Mills. It seems that Nangini did the stories regarding Mary’s childhood and Nancy then took the project forward all the way to the passion.

  8. Thanks Pia!

  9. I don’t know how angels followed the toddler and her parents to present her at the temple Since not one angel knew of her existence nor did the angels know that she was to be the mother of our Lord. It was a secret that God shared w/ no one. St Bridget and even St. Michael said that she was so humble and filled w/ humility that she asked God to keep her invisible and unmentioned. It’s said that even in heaven angels were asking, “Who is she?” Meaning who was the woman God has chosen to be the mother of his son

  10. ..but it dawned on me that God’s arch angels knew. Messenger-angel, Gabriel, at least. I read somewhere that St. Michael also confided to this individual (whom later died and became a saint) that Mary was more saintly then any saint. Now in heaven saints and angels await her heavenly presence hoping to do a favor for her.

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