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Meditation 18 - The Presentation of the Child Jesus

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Presentation of the Child Jesus

1. Mary Enters the Temple — She has been purified and is now considered worthy to enter into the Temple.  She enters with such respect and devotion!  She knew that it was a place of prayer, where God communicates with souls… the dwelling place of the Lord, although only in symbols and figures.  And, however, Mary respected and admired that Temple where the majesty of God resided more than in any other place.  What would She have done had She entered in our temples?  What a lesson for your frequent lack of respect when entering into a holy place!  Her entrance into the Temple, with Her Son in Her arms, sanctified that place. — We go to the Temple to be sanctified… She went with Her Son to sanctify the Temple itself.  
There were so many memories for Her there!  In that very Temple She was presented by Her parents when She was three years old… it was there that She had spent the first years of Her childhood… it was there that She had made, after many moments of prayers, Her vow of virginity.  That Temple said so many things to Mary!

And you?  Does it not say anything to you?  Do you not remember the graces… the sacraments… the inspirations… the Holy Communions that you received in the Temple?  Have you forgotten how, before an image of the Most Blessed Virgin, you received so many signs of the love that She has for you? — Love, love the Temple greatly.  It should be for you the most desired place among them all.  In no other place have you found God like you do there.  Yes, love the Temple a lot… and at the same time, respect it.  Do not consent to having anything within yourself that is unworthy of its holiness…

2. Mary’s Sacrifice — But above all, the Temple is the place of excellence for sacrifice and Mary is going there to offer to the Lord the most beautiful and most difficult of all sacrifices…

According to the Law, all the firstborn sons were to be offered to the Lord and redeemed through the offering of five shekels of silver. — Jesus and Mary do not see themselves as free from this Law and so they go to fulfil it. — Jesus is offered to the Eternal Father and redeemed by His Mother…  What simplicity and such beauty in this sublime mystery! — But the true mystery is that of the sacrifice… do not forget that sacrifice is inseparable from Jesus… the Child offers Himself voluntarily to His Father as a victim of expiation.  Today the words from the Psalm would be repeated, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire… Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come.’”

Moreover, for this sacrifice, He does not do so alone… His Mother is with Him, and it is She who presents Him to the Eternal Father for the sacrifice.
Remember the sacrifice of Abraham, ready to immolate his son, to fulfil the will of God. — Some say that this order was given to the father and not to the mother, because she would have been incapable… But here, it is the Mother who does so consciously… understanding perfectly what She did… understanding the whole meaning and importance of this ceremony… She offers Her Son for a sacrifice, which will be consummated much later.  This is the offertory of that first Mass that Christ said on the Cross.  How many times on the day of His passion and death would the Most Blessed Virgin recall this day and this moment!

The Eternal Father accepted this offering without hesitation and He was not satisfied, as in the case of Abraham, with the sole intention, but rather, He demanded its exact fulfilment until the end!  What generosity and what love Mary and Jesus had!
Thank them for this offering, because we owe our salvation to it. — Offer yourself along with this sacrifice, be what it may… offer yourself as a victim of love and expiation… and rejoice if the Lord deigns to accept this offering from you and wants you to consummate it by sacrificing yourself. — Be very generous in promising and then fulfil that which you promise, like Mary and Jesus…

3. The Mediation of Mary — Look at this mystery as a confirmation of the universal mediation of Mary. — Jesus takes human flesh in the womb of Mary. — On the Cross He will be immolated in union with Mary, who will be alongside Him. — In the presentation, we discover something more… Jesus wants Mary to carry Him and that She Herself, in the Temple, offer Him as the sacrifice. — In other words, here the Most Holy Virgin appears as the priest that takes the host in his hands in order to sacrifice it.  She is the altar of the sacrifice, where She immolates Her own Son... Her heart and Her arms are the ara, or altar, where the victim is consummated… How great and magnificent is Mary’s cooperation in the work of the Redemption!  It should inspire us to have great trust, for we see Her united with God in the greatest of His works... that of the Redemption!

Imitate Her by sacrificing yourself in your heart… And upon this altar, immolate everything that displeases Her, so that there is nothing disordered in it…

4. Jesus as the Ransom — Lastly, think about the last part of the ceremony: paying the ransom price.  Jesus is redeemed by His Mother, but not for Her… not to rejoice in Her Son, but rather to raise Him and guide Him as our servant and slave, who would one day give His life for us. — That is to say, at no moment can we see even a tinge of selfishness in what the Blessed Virgin and Her Son do… but rather, only pure and selfless love... a love that does not look for its own good, but that of the others.
She already knew that all the work in His upbringing would not be for Her, but for us… and yet She puts Herself to work to give us this good. — How grateful you should be to Jesus and Mary!  For how much She teaches you about your selfishness, which always mingles in with everything you do!  Look at God and your neighbour, and never at yourself.  This should be your aspiration.

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