Feast of the Presentation, November 21

               Taken from T. Kelly’s The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary                


From  the giving of the Mosaic law, it was   customary with the Jews to consecrate themselves to God, and to make vows of consecrating their children to Him for a time, or irrevocably forever…

The infant Mary was doubtless the sole consolation of her aged parents, who regarded her as a special gift of the Most High….they are now to be deprived of this darling object of their love.  This sacrifice which they must accomplish is a great one, and it surely touches them in the tenderest spot of their hearts;  but their piety is solid and their religion ardent…they preferred God’s glory and pleasure to their own content.

Mary , says St. Gregory of Nyssa, lively, agile, bounding with joy, though scarcely three years old, runs to the temple more willingly than the maiden enamored of a young monarch to the abode of her royal spouse. 1

Templo trima praesentata

Bendicta Virgo nata; Templo trima presentata

At the presentation of Mary in the temple, which according to the opinion of some, took place during the solemnity of the Encoenia, there assisted, according to St. Germanus, Nicephorus, and others, not only the parents, but also, by the will of Heaven, many of the noblest persons in Jerusalem, while thousands of invisible angels around her reveled in joy.

Assured, moreover, of the memorable fact of the sacrifice of herself which Mary made to God, and which the pious couple made of their beloved daughter, without entering into any details as to the exterior circumstances which attended that sacrifice, admirable and extraordinary as they were – we will say, that never had there been made in that temple an offering greater or more agreeable to God..while amid joyous chants, mingled with the sound of the sacerdotal harps, the young Virgin, admitted into the interior of the temple, accomplished the great sacrifice of herself.

…[Y]ou might behold in the divine enclosure the young Virgin consecrated to God and chosen from all eternity to give to the earth the Desired of the Nations, the promised Messias.  By this event was accomplished the prophecy of Aggeus:  “Great shall be the glory of this last house (in which the Saviour of the world shall enter) more than of the first.”


1.  It is the common opinion that the Blessed Virgin was presented in the temple soon after the conclusion of her third year.  Such is the assertion of Evodius, St. Grgeory, St. Germanus, Theodotus bishop of Ancyra, St. John Damascenus, St. Andrew of Crete, Gregory of Nicomedia, Nicephorus Callixtus, Bartholomew of Trent, Theodoret de Castro, Baronius, and others.

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