Saturday, 21 November, 2020
The Protoevangelium of St. James and the pseudo-gospel of Matthew presents Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary who in fulfilment of their vows brought their three-year-old daughter, Mary from Nazareth to the Temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated by the holy women, and together with the other young virgins, consecrated to God’s service. The origin of the feast dates back to the dedication of a church to our Lady in Jerusalem on this day in 543. This feast continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Nativity of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the very inception of her life on earth, which continued through her childhood and beyond, was a result of her total dedication to God.
Our Lady revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary how determined she was as a little girl “to have only God for her father and often meditated on how she might please Him.” She continued. “You may think, perhaps, that I received grace and virtue without any effort; but I can assure you that God granted me none without great effort, constant prayer, ardent longing, tears and mortification on my part!” It was the practice of the virtues of humility, charity and obedience that she became a temple greater than any made by human hands.
St. Alphonsus urges us to imitate Mary by becoming detached from all earthly things, even from our parents and so “present ourselves today to Mary without reserve.” In her revelation to St. Elizabeth of Hungary she emphatically stressed that she received virtue, grace and favours nor without her effort. These were given without her great efforts; but with constant prayer, ardent longing, tears, mortification and her great desire to be with God. People have often said that the Blessed Virgin Mary is highly favoured that’s why she is so holy. Her testimony of herself is that she worked very hard. We’re challenged by this celebration to become more serious in our relationship with God. Yes, God will bless you, but have you brought yourself out to receive the blessings? The Blessed Virgin Mary did by her dedication or presentation, you can do as well. Mary presents our prayers to her Son and through her intercession we hope one day to be presented to him in glory.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us. Amen!
Fr. Francis Bebia
Regina Pacis, Ofumbongha.