Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (12 BC)
The feast of the Presentation was instituted in the Greek church more than nine hundred years ago, since Saint Germanus, who held the see of Constantinople in the year 715, composed a sermon upon it.
Mary’s Presentation, offering, in the Temple was the greatest a creature ever made to God; at the age of three, she offered Him not spices, nor animals, nor precious metals, but herself as a perpetual victim to His honor. She well understood the voice of God calling her to devote herself entirely to His love.
God willed that from that time on she should forget all, and think only of loving and pleasing Him. Promptly and immediately, she obeyed the Divine Call.
Mary’s offering at her presentation began really in her mother’s womb, her sanctification at the instant of her Immaculate Conception. At that moment she received the use of reason and began to merit – the general opinion of theologians. (The Angels and our first parents had this blessing also.) In the first moment of her existence she offered herself entirely to God, and devoted herself without reserve to His love and glory, subjecting her will thereto.
The immaculate child understood that her holy parents, Joachim and Anne, had promised God by a vow to consecrate their child to Him for His service. Mary was reminded that it was the ancient Jewish custom to take daughters to the temple for education.
So when Mary was three years old, Joachim and Anne set out with her from Nazareth, eighty miles from Jerusalem, accompanied by choirs of unseen angels.
When they reached the temple, St. Anne took her Daughter and Mistress by the hand, accompanied and assisted by St. Joachim. All three offered a devout and fervent prayer to the Lord; the parents offering to God their Daughter, and the most holy Child, in profound humility, adoration and worship, offering up Herself. She alone heard that the Most High received and accepted Her, and, amid divine splendor which filled the temple, she heard a voice saying to her: “Come, my Beloved, my Spouse, come to my temple, where I wish to hear thy voice of praise and worship.”
Mary fell upon her knees, kissing the hands of her parents, and imploring them for their blessing. Then she ascended the fifteen steps of the temple and presented herself to the priest, Saint Zachary, for the service of her Creator.
Mary well knew that God does not accept a divided heart; so she vowed virginity, desiring to remain in the temple service her whole life. Our Lady revealed to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, that she kept one special commandment before her eyes constantly:
“Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God,” and she implored of God the grace to keep all the laws and to live to see the Mother of the Redeemer; and that even she had to pray for grace and virtue always. On learning from Scripture that God was to be born of a virgin, her soul was inflamed with such love, and she begged to be the servant of that happy virgin.
Saint John Chrysostom tells us God found on earth no other virgin more holy and more perfect than Mary; nor a dwelling more worthy than her sacred womb, and so He chose her for His Mother – surpassing in perfection and virtue all other creatures.
As Mary did, offer yourself promptly and completely to God through her, without delay, without reserve, entreat her to offer you to God. He will not reject a creature offerd to Him through His Mother, the living temple of the Holy Ghost, the delight of the Lord and the chosen Mother of the eternal Word.
Have unbounded confidence in Mary, who rewards the homage of her clients with the greatest love.