BEAD BY BEAD:
MEDITATIONS ON THE ROSARY,
The Joyful Mysteries
Fourth Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple
Already the forty days after the birth of a son, during which a woman,
according to the law, was considered unclean and during which she was
obliged to continue her purification for her readmittance into the
temple, were corning to a close [Lev. 22:4]. In order to comply with
this law and satisfy another obligation contained in Exodus, chapter
thirteenth, which demanded the sanctification and presentation to the
Lord of all the first-born sons, the Mother of All Purity prepared to
go to Jerusalem, where She was to appear in the temple with Her Son as
the Only Begotten of the Eternal Father and purify Herself according to
the custom of other women.
3. The Sacred Humanity of Christ belonged to the Eternal Father not only because it was created like other beings, but it was His Special Property by virtue of the hypostatic union with the Person of the Word, for this Person of the Word, being His Only begotten Son, was engendered of His substance, True God of True God. Nevertheless the Eternal Father had decreed, that His Son should be presented to Him in the temple in mysterious compliance with the law, of which Christ Our Lord was the end (Rom. 10:4). It was established for no other purpose than that the just men of the Old Testament should perpetually sanctify and' offer to the Lord their first-born sons, in the hope that one thus presented might prove to be the Son of God and a Child of the Mother of the expected Messias (Exod. 13:2).
4. This will of the Eternal Father, which was conformable to that of His Son in so far as He was God, was known to the Mother of Life and of the human nature of the Word; for She saw that an His interior actions were in unison with the Will of His Eternal Father. Full of this Holy Science the Great Princess passed the night before His presentation in the temple in Divine colloquies. Speaking to the Father She said: "My Lord and God Most High, Father of My Lord, a festive day for Heaven and earth will be that, in which I shall bring and offer to Thee in Thy holy temple the living Host, which is at the same time the Treasure of Thy Divinity.
5. On the next morning, the Sun of Heaven, being now ready to issue from its purest dawning, the Virgin Mary, on whose arms He reclined, and being about to rise up in full view of the World, the Heavenly Lady, having provided the turtle-doves and two candles, wrapped Him in swaddling-clothes and betook Herself with Saint Joseph from Their lodging to the Temple. The Holy Angels, who had come with Them from Bethlehem, again formed in procession in corporeal and most beautiful forms, just as has been said concerning the journey of the preceding day. Joining the other women, She bowed and knelt to adore the Lord in spirit and in truth in His Holy Temple and She presented Herself before the exalted Majesty of God with His Son upon Her arms (John 4:23).
Immediately She Was immersed in an intellectual vision of the Most Holy Trinity and She heard a voice issuing from the Eternal Father, saying: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matth. 27:20). Saint Joseph, the most fortunate of men, felt at the same time a new sweetness of the Holy Ghost, which filled him with joy and Divine light.
6. The holy high-priest Simeon, moved by the Holy Ghost, also entered the temple at that time (Luke 2:7). Approaching the place where the Queen stood with the Infant Jesus in Her arms, he saw both Mother and Child enveloped in splendor and glory. The prophetess Anne, who, as the Evangelist says, had come at the same hour, also saw Mary and Her Infant surrounded by this wonderful light. In the joy of their spirit both of them approached the Queen of Heaven, and the priest received the Infant Jesus from Her arms upon his hands. Raising up his eyes to Heaven he offered Him up to the Eternal Father, pronouncing at the same time these words so full of mysteries: "Now dost Thou dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy Word in peace. Because my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light for the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel" (Luke 2:29).
7. Simeon, addressing himself to the Most Holy Mother of the Infant Jesus, then added: "Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed."
Then also the prophetess Anne acknowledged the Incarnate Word, and full of the Holy Ghost, she spoke of the mysteries of the Messias to many, who were expecting the redemption of Israel. By these two holy old people public testimony of the coming of the Redeemer was given to the World.
At the moment when the priest Simeon mentioned the sword and the sign of contradiction, which were prophetical of the Passion and Death of The Lord, the Child bowed Its head. Thereby, and by many interior acts of obedience, Jesus ratified the prophecy of the priest and accepted it as the sentence of the Eternal Father pronounced by His minister. All this the Loving Mother noticed and understood; She presently began to feel the sorrow predicted by Simeon and thus in advance was She wounded by the sword, of which She had thus been warned.
8. The ceremony of the Presentation thus being over, the Great Lady kissed the hand of the priest and again asked his blessing. The same She did also to Anne, Her former teacher; for Her dignity as Mother of God, the highest possible to Angels or men, did not prevent Her from these acts of deepest humility. Then, in the company of Saint Joseph, Her spouse, and of the fourteen thousand Angels in procession, She returned with the Divine Infant to Her lodging.
9. They remained for some days in Jerusalem, in order to satisfy Their devotion and during that time She spoke a few times with the priest about the mysteries of the Redemption and of the prophecies above mentioned.
When the Most Holy Mary and Glorious Saint Joseph returned from the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the temple, They concluded to stay in Jerusalem for nine days in order to be able each day to visit the Temple and repeat the offering of the Sacred Victim, Their Divine Son, thus rendering fitting thanks for the immense blessing for which they had been singled out from among all men. The Heavenly Lady had a special veneration for this number in memory of the nine days, during which She had been prepared and adorned by God for the Incarnation of the Word; also in memory of the nine months, during which She had borne Jesus in Her virginal womb. In honor of these events She wished to make this novena with Her Divine Child, presenting Him that many times to the Eternal Father as an acceptable offering for Her lofty purposes. They began the devotions of the novena every day before the third hour, praying in the Temple until nightfall. They chose the most obscure and retired place, meriting thereby the invitation of the master of the banquet in the Gospel: "Friend, go up higher." As an answer to Her petitions He conceded to Her new and great privileges, among which was also this one, that, as long as the World should last, She should obtain all that She would ever ask for Her clients; that the greatest sinners, if they availed themselves of Her intercession, should find salvation.
10. The Most High visited anew His Only Spouse, wishing to prepare Her for the labors, that were awaiting Her. Speaking to Her, He comforted Her saying: "My Spouse and my Dove, Thy wishes and intentions are pleasing in My eyes and I delight in them always. But Thou canst not finish the nine days' devotion, which Thou hast begun, for I have in store for Thee other exercises of Thy love. In order to save the Life of Thy Son and raise Him up, Thou must leave Thy Home and Thy Country, fly with Him and thy Spouse Joseph into Egypt, where Thou art to remain until I shall ordain otherwise: for Herod is seeking the Life of the Child. The journey is long, most laborious and most fatiguing; do Thou suffer it all for My sake; for I am and always will be, with Thee."
She was not in the least disturbed or moved by this unlooked for order. Answering, She said: "My Lord and Master, behold Thy servant with a heart prepared to die for Thy Love if necessary. Dispose of me according to Thy will This only do I ask of thy immense goodness, that, overlooking My want of merit and gratitude, Thou permit not My Son and Lord to suffer, and that Thou turn all pains and labor upon Me, who am obliged to suffer them." The Lord referred Her to Saint Joseph, bidding Her to follow his directions in all things concerning the journey.
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