Today we celebrate the official close of the Christmas cycle, marked by the presentation of Our Lord in the temple.
This feast reveals the profound humility of the Blessed Mother in obeying the Mosaic Law.
The Law stated that every woman who gave birth to a son could not approach the temple for forty days. After that term, she had to go to the temple and offer a sacrifice in order to be ritually purified. The child himself, if he was the first-born son, was considered the property of the Lord and had to be “ransomed”; that is, an offering was given to the temple on his behalf.
The Law of purification and presentation, however, concerned those shackled with sin. The Child Jesus and His Mother were both immaculate. These rituals were, moreover, meant to be performed by creatures in obedience to their Creator—but Jesus is the Creator!
Why did Jesus and His Mother obey these commands, which did not concern them?
The reason, though simple, is astounding:
[T]he holy Mother of God must go to the Temple like other Hebrew mothers, as though she had lost something which needed restoring by a legal sacrifice. He, that is the Son of God and Son of Man, must be treated in all things as though he were a Servant, and be ransomed in common with the poorest Jewish boy. Mary adores the will of God, and embraces it with her whole heart.
—The Liturgical Year, Dom Prosper Gueranger
The Incarnate Deity—the eternal, all-powerful Word—wished to live as a humble slave, a slave “obedient even unto death” (Phil. 2:8). By presenting herself and her Child in the temple for purification, the Blessed Mother demonstrated a most profound humility and perfect obedience to God’s will.
This Fourth Joyful Mystery offers much to emulate and meditate upon. As you ponder this and the other Mysteries, let our Mysteries of the Rosary Candle burn beside you. Featuring a depiction of a rosary on one side and a list of all twenty Mysteries on the other, this candle is more than just a decoration. Its discreet scent and pleasing design prompt prayerful focus. Get yours today at The Catholic Company!