Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Fourth Joyful Mystery - the Presentation

And his father and mother marveled at what was said about him.  Luke 2:33

Little Jesus was bathed and dressed in fresh baby clothes. He smelled sweet. Mary kissed his damp cheek. Joseph called to his family. It was time to go.
To the Temple, in reverent awe. Every firstborn son was consecrated to the Lord, just as Hannah consecrated Samuel in ancient times. Today was the day for baby Jesus.

Into the Temple now, a busy place of various transactions, yet always filled with an air of holiness. Simeon, an elderly man, came forward. It seemed he has been waiting just for them. Out of a shadow he stepped, smiling, reaching for Jesus.

Simeon held Jesus in his arms, murmuring to him. Suddenly, strength and purpose filled his being. He appeared 20 years younger.
He opened his mouth and began to prophesy. His words told of how Jesus would be a light to the Gentiles and Israel's glory. Mary and Joseph knew that, and yet felt surprise to hear it coming out of a stranger's mouth.
Simeon continued, saying the child will be "set for the fall and the rising of many in Israel."

Then his eyes met Mary's.
"Any you yourself a sword shall pierce."

She knew, had known all along, that somehow her heart would be sacrificed in all this. Mary realized now with cold assurance that her son would somehow, some day suffer, and she would suffer right along with him.

As soon as Simeon finished, Anna the prophetess came forth, praising God. She, too, understood the importance of this child, and rejoiced at his coming.

Mary and Joseph knew who their son was. They believed it firmly, despite the fact it still sounded like a day dream. They were filled with awe once again. A day they thought would be ordinary had turned into something amazing. It seemed that every where they would go with this child would be an adventure!


Raising a child is hard work, but one of the benefits is that we, as parents, see so much worth in our children. We desire others to recognize in our child a uniqueness, a special-ness, a reason for existing.
The world can be a hard place, sometimes cruel. We fear for our children. We fear they will not know they are special, that they are loved beyond measure. So when other people exclaim over our child or praise them, as Simeon and Anna adored Jesus, our hearts are moved. We know our child's worth has been revealed to others.

Also in this mystery, we hear the warning of Simeon to Mary, of the sword that will pierce her heart. Mary will suffer for the sake of her son, in his sufferings. Fathers and mothers suffer when they watch their children suffer. It is a trial of parenthood to know that we are no longer independent in our hearts. Our children whom we have borne, whom we have loved and raised, will know pain, just as we have known pain in our lives. We are usually powerless to stop it.
We cannot shield our children from the Cross. It will come to them, as it comes to all. We know trials can bring us closer to God, but it does not make watching our children suffer an easy thing.

As a parent, a sword will pierce our heart. Of all people, Mary the Mother of God understands this.

The Joyful Mysteries

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