Today, November 21, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the moment in which her parents, Saints Anna and Joaquim, committed Our Blessed Mother to the Lord. From that day on, when she was approximately three years old, Mary lived in the temple, working, praying, and contemplating the awesome love of God, and every day growing closer to Him. As Mary emptied herself of her worldly ties, she was filled with the grace of God, and was prepared for her unique and perfect role in the salvation of mankind through the birth of her Son.
Below, selected writings from Saints Alphonsus Liguori, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, and John Eudes, that befir this special feast day.
"There never has been, and there never will be, any offering of a pure creature greater and more perfect than that which Mary made to God, when she presented herself in the temple to offer him, not spices, nor calves, nor talents of gold, but her whole self as a perfect holocaust, consecrating herself as a perpetual victim in his honor. Well did she understand the voice of God, which even then called her to dedicate herself wholly to his love, with these words: Arise, make haste, my love, and come.
They thus went on their way, accompanied by only a few of their relations, but by hosts of angels, as St. George of Nicomedia asserts, who attended and ministered to the immaculate Virgin, as she went to dedicate herself to the Divine Majesty. How beautiful are thy steps, oh Prince’s daughter! Oh, how beautiful, how pleasing to God, as the angels sung, are thy steps, as thou goest to offer thyself to him, oh great and chosen daughter of our common Lord! God himself on that day, says Bernardino de Bustis, celebrated a great feast with the whole celestial court, when he beheld his spouse conducted to the temple. For he never saw a creature more holy and more beloved offering herself to him. Go, then, said St. Germanus, Archbishop of Constantinople, go, oh queen of the world, oh mother of God, go joyfully to the house of the Lord, to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit that will make thee mother of the eternal World." Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary
"For over thirty years God has been putting into my heart the desire to help people of every condition and background to understand that ordinary life can be holy and full of God. Our Lord is calling us to sanctify the ordinary tasks of every day, for the perfection of the Christian is to be found precisely there. Let’s consider it once more as we contemplate Mary’s life.
We can't forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their family, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things—what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God!
For that’s what explains Mary’s life—her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain but, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our mother, is for us both an example and a way. We have to try to be like her, in the ordinary circumstances in which God wants us to live." Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
"God inspired in the heart of the pure Virgin Mary His own intense love for humility, and abhorrence of pride. She possessed, even from her infancy, a far greater horror of pride and ambition, and a far deeper love for humility than all the saints together. It was the first virtue that she practices. She abased and humbled herself before all. She esteemed herself, and would have been happy to be treated by others, as the last of the creatures. By marvelous radiance of her Immaculate Conception, she beheld herself susceptible to the guilt of the children of Adam, except that God miraculously preserved her, and she considered that she might have been capable of all the sins in the world, whose source is original sin. It was this humility which attracted to her the countless graces which rendered her worthy to be the Mother of God, Queen of heaven and earth.
Give thanks to Almighty God who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, and offer Him all the glory that this Maiden accorded to His majesty by her practice of the richest humility during her childhood and throughout the rest of her life." Saint John Eudes