Written by Kelsey Sweeney, friend of Stella & Tide
“And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.” – Protoevangelium of James, Chapter 7
The story of the Presentation of Mary has been passed down through the years and the feast has been celebrated in the Church for centuries. While the story is not found in the Bible, it is contained in the Protoevangelium of James, which is a second-century writing detailing the life of Mary.
When Mary was three years old, her parents, Anne and Joachim, took her to the temple in Jerusalem to present her before the Lord. Anne and Joachim wanted to consecrate their daughter’s life to God in thanksgiving for blessing them with a healthy and beautiful child (they suffered many barren years in their marriage). After Mary was presented before God, she learned much from the women of the temple and began a practice of both prayer and sacrifice. Mary’s presentation marked the beginning of her devotion to the Lord, which would continue throughout the remainder of her life.
The celebration of the feast of the Presentation of Mary reminds us that Mary was specially chosen by the Lord from the very beginning of her life. The temple priest knew immediately upon welcoming her into the sacred space that Mary was expected to be part of the redemption of the world. It was clear that God had a great role planned for her before she was ever born. He helped prepare her heart for her role as Mother of Christ in seemingly small ways with each “yes” Mary offered. She willingly accepted God’s call to prayer and sacrifice while still a young girl in the temple, and with each subsequent step she walked closer to God and His will for her life.
While Mary’s call and “yes” to the Lord were extraordinary, it is evident that God has called each of us too. Whether large or small, we each have a role to play in sharing Christ with the world. God knew all of us before we were born, and He has a plan for our lives. Our Blessed Mother placed herself totally and completely in the service of the Lord, and we, like Mary, must find our “yes” and bring it to the Lord without fear. Through our baptism, we have the opportunity to seek the will of our Father and receive His loving grace.
Each daily “yes” can open new doors for us to grow in holiness as well as better understand the mission God has set before us. Let us remember to request the assistance of our Blessed Mother in all our needs, especially as we strive to imitate her unwavering virtue. May she be our example as we learn to completely trust our Lord and surrender to His wonderful desires for our own lives.