Monday, November 21, 2016

Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple

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Today is the prelude of the good will of God,
Of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.
The Virgin appears in the temple of God,
In anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.
Let us rejoice and sing to her:
"Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."
         --Troparion of the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos, tone 4

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple, on of the Twelve Great Feasts of the liturgical year. Today marks the transition from the Old Testament into the New. This begins the nurturing of Mary from a daughter of Israel into the future Theotokos (God-bearer).

"The former indeed had also justifications of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made the first, wherein were the candlesticks, and the table, and the setting forth of loaves, which is called the holy. And after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the Holy of Holies: Having a golden censer, and the ark of the testament covered about on every part with gold, in which was a golden pot that had manna, and the rod of Aaron, that had blossomed, and the tables of the testament. And over it were the cherubims of glory overshadowing the propitiatory: of which it is not needful to speak now particularly.
Now these things being thus ordered, into the first tabernacle the priests indeed always entered, accomplishing the offices of sacrifices. But into the second, the high priest alone, once a year: not without blood, which he offereth for his own, and the people's ignorance"
          --Hebrews 9:1-7 (Douay-Rheims translation, text is public domain)

Mary becomes the new tabernacle, the new Holy of Holies, for within her womb and her womb alone dwelt God.

This story passes to us through Holy Tradition, and was first written down in the highly popular-at-the-time Protogospel of John.

This feast is also a good reflection on ourselves. Mary was able to say "Yes" to Gabriel because she had prepared herself for the Lord's plan. She kept herself in constant prayer with God and was open to His will. And by her "Yes" came salvation for mankind. How many of us are as prepared?

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