The Feast of Light and Hope

Mary presents the Infant Jesus in the Temple and accompanies Him on His mission. She submits herself to the laws of purification out of obedience even though she does not need to be purified.

We are in need of interior purification. However, our pride often seeks to exempt us from the law. We make excuses. Often we falsely believe that parts of the law of God just do not pertain to us. 

Mary, who was influenced by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, is our model of contemplative prayer and of purity of heart. “My eyes are ever upon the LORD” (Psalm 25). This describes Mary and her purity. Mary’s purity was of heart, mind, and intention. Souls aspiring to contemplation should strive for this kind of purity in imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

A pure heart that is detached from all that can lead to sin or trouble the soul.

A pure mind that puts to death curiosity, which only troubles and distracts the soul, scattering its attention in all different directions.

Purity of intentions that have only one aim in mind, to please God.

The fruit of this purity is a great mastery over self and opens the way to constantly thinking of God, conversing with Him, performing all actions with Him in mind, and desiring only to please Him. Then, like Mary, His presence is always in mind and the soul is constantly turned toward Him.

According to the law, Mary was to go to the Temple forty days after the birth of her son and participate in the purification rite. She brings the child with her. This is the first time Jesus, the Light of the World, enters the Temple.

Candles are blessed on this day by the Church. These lit tapers symbolize the life of a Christian – a life of grace that is filled with faith, hope, and love. Since Jesus is the Light of the World, or as Simeon proclaimed, “a light to the revelation of the Gentiles”, these candles should be a reminder to us that we too must be a light for others revealing Christ in us and giving hope to all.

Mary is always united to her Son. We too should always be united to Jesus. Our union with Him is proportional to our purity. On this Feast of the Presentation let us ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary for that pure love, free of sin and detached from all created things, and for a heart directed towards God and always tending toward Him.

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