Monday, 21 November 2011

The Presentation of the Virgin

On this day, which follows the Feast of Christ as the King of the Universe - as illustrated in our icon -  it is good to recall what Blessed John Paul says in ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE.

If it is the Father's plan to unite all things in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10), then the whole of the universe is in some way touched by the divine favour with which the Father looks upon Mary and makes her the Mother of his Son. The whole of humanity, in turn, is embraced by the fiat with which she readily agrees to the will of God.

Teilhard wants us to focus on precisely this aspect of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Mary's response to Gabriel - who stands at the top of the icon - is an event which  touches the 'whole of the universe'.  The presentation of Mary as a child in the temple  thus represents a critical and defining moment in the evolution of the universe: Mary - the Immaculate Conception -   who will become a temple of  the living God,  is dedicated to God.    In the Eastern Orthodox tradition today is one of the 12  great feasts which celebrates the presentation of Mary in the Temple and her consecration to God by  St. Anne and St. Joachim.   It is also important to note here that in St. Margaret Mary's  original drawing of the Sacred Heart, (RIGHT->)  Joachim and Anne are included as a central aspect of the Sacred Heart.  It is well that we remember that today. *

  In the Catholic church we celebrate the dedication which ' Mary made to God from her very childhood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who filled her with grace  at her Immaculate Conception'.   It is also a day which we pray for  the  work of the cloistered religious  - such as the Sisters in  the Tyburn Convent in London  and the Carmelites - who have dedicated their lives to the Sacred Heart and whose prayer energises the life of the Church. ( I continue to explore the Carmelite tradition in respect of the heart and I am finding it most illuminating. )

* As I have said before, this little drawing by the saint herself ought to be the focus of more reflection and  should be actively used to aid our devotion to the Sacred Heart.  It is what she herself recommended, after all!! The image is of special relevance today  given  that we are remembering  St Anne and St. Joachim, the Blessed Virgin's parents.   It is also interesting that the structure of the design is not unlike our icon.  Perhaps this picture influenced Ian in some way?

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