November 21st – Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady

November 21st – Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady – A Feast with a biblical tradition.
Icon of the Presentation in the temple of the Mother of God.  By Hieromoine Cyrille. (bradette)

 

 

There existed among the Jewish people the custom of consecrating to God some young children. They were brought to the Temple for the consecration ceremony. The Gospels tell us nothing about the childhood of Mary but tradition teaches us that she was solemnly offered to God in the temple. This presentation signifies the feast of the 21st of November.

In this icon we see the High Priest Zachary who inclines towards her, blesses her by placing his right hand on her forehead and welcomes her by taking her by the right hand. He is the harbinger of a joy that humanity cannot yet name.

The origin of this feast can be placed in Palestine because we learn that in 543, in Jerusalem took place the dedication of the basilica of St. Mary of Neuve. The feast was introduced in the 8th century in the Church and from then on the devotion developed during the 11th century and became very popular during the middle ages. Little by little this feast became a symbol of the consecration that the Immaculate Virgin made of herself to the Lord at the beginning of her young life. It is also good to contemplate in Mary “full of Grace” the model of consecrated life: A model for all Christians who by their Baptism are consecrated to God by their incorporation in Christ. Mary, in a special way becomes a model of those who want to make of their lives a complete offering to the call of the Gospel, by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. She is also the model of those who consecrate themselves forever in the priesthood to the service of Christ and the Church.  Il it interesting to learn that Jean-Jacques Olier (1607-1658), founder of the Sulpicians, like many of those belonging to the French School of Spirituality had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. In 1650 he decided that the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin in the temple would be the principal feast for the first seminaries and on this day he organised a ceremony for the renewal of the promises of the clergy. . St. Jean Eudes, also of the French School and founder of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity in 1641 invited them to renew their vows on this day. St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier continued this same devotion in the 19th century.

For us today, this feast teaches us an important truth about Mary. Because of her dedication to God from an early age, she was called by God to become a greater temple than the magnificent temple in Jerusalem. If the temple in Jerusalem was the house of God, the place where God was believed to be present in a special way, Mary became the house of the Lord in an even greater way, because she carried the Lord in her womb until she gave birth to him. Like Mary, who from her childhood did the will of God and was therefore ready to become the temple of God’s Son at the time of God’s choosing, we too are called to do the will of God so that we too can become temples of the Lord, people who carry the Lord’s presence and awaken others to God’s presence in them.

Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple? On this feast day let us ask Mary to pray for us  so that we may recognize the truth about ourselves, we, too  - are Temples – the Presence of God to each other. (adapted from Martin Hogan)

– A Feast with a biblical tradition. Icon of the Presentation in the temple of the Mother of God. By Hieromoine Cyrille. (bradette) There existed among the Jewish people the custom of consecrating to God some young children. They were brought to the Temple for the consecration ceremony. The Gospels tell us nothing about the childhood of Mary but tradition teaches us that she was solemnly offered to God in the temple. This presentation signifies the feast of the 21st of November. In this icon we see the High Priest Zachary who inclines towards her, blesses her by placing his right hand on her forehead and welcomes her by taking her by the right hand. He is the harbinger of a joy that humanity cannot yet name. The origin of this feast can be placed in Palestine because we learn that in 543, in Jerusalem took place the dedication of the basilica of St. Mary of Neuve. The feast was introduced in the 8th century in the Church and from then on the devotion developed during the 11th century and became very popular during the middle ages. Little by little this feast became a symbol of the consecration that the Immaculate Virgin made of herself to the Lord at the beginning of her young life. It is also good to contemplate in Mary “full of Grace” the model of consecrated life: A model for all Christians who by their Baptism are consecrated to God by their incorporation in Christ. Mary, in a special way becomes a model of those who want to make of their lives a complete offering to the call of the Gospel, by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. She is also the model of those who consecrate themselves forever in the priesthood to the service of Christ and the Church. Il it interesting to learn that Jean-Jacques Olier (1607-1658), founder of the Sulpicians, like many of those belonging to the French School of Spirituality had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. In 1650 he decided that the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin in the temple would be the principal feast for the first seminaries and on this day he organised a ceremony for the renewal of the promises of the clergy. . St. Jean Eudes, also of the French School and founder of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity in 1641 invited them to renew their vows on this day. St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier continued this same devotion in the 19th century. For us today, this feast teaches us an important truth about Mary. Because of her dedication to God from an early age, she was called by God to become a greater temple than the magnificent temple in Jerusalem. If the temple in Jerusalem was the house of God, the place where God was believed to be present in a special way, Mary became the house of the Lord in an even greater way, because she carried the Lord in her womb until she gave birth to him. Like Mary, who from her childhood did the will of God and was therefore ready to become the temple of God’s Son at the time of God’s choosing, we too are called to do the will of God so that we too can become temples of the Lord, people who carry the Lord’s presence and awaken others to God’s presence in them. Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple? On this feast day let us ask Mary to pray for us so that we may recognize the truth about ourselves, we, too - are Temples – the Presence of God to each other. (adapted from Martin Hogan)