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Offline Binechi

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The Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary
« on: February 02, 2017, 07:05:58 AM »
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    The Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary


    Offline Binechi

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    The Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary
    « Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 07:10:05 AM »
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    The Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary

    Prayer to Mary on the Feast of the Purification
     by St. Alphonsus de Liguori



    O holy Mother of God, and my Mother Mary, thou wast so deeply interested in my salvation as to offer to death the dearest object of thy heart, thy beloved Jesus! Since, then, thou didst so much desire to see me saved, it is right that, after God, I should place all my hopes in thee. O yes, most Blessed Virgin, I do indeed entirely confide in thee. Ah, by the merit of the great sacrifice which thou didst offer this day to God, the sacrifice of the life of thy Son, entreat Him to have pity on my poor soul, for which this Immaculate Lamb did not refuse to die on the cross. I could desire, O my Queen, to offer my poor heart to God on this day, in imitation of Thee; but I fear that, seeing it so sordid and loathsome, He may refuse it. But if thou offerest it to Him, He will not reject it. He is always pleased with and accepts the offerings presented to Him by your most pure hands. To thee, then, O Mary, do I this day present myself, miserable as I am; to thee do I give myself without reserve. Do thou offer me as thy servant, together with Jesus to the Eternal Father; and beseech Him, by the merits of thy Son and for thy sake, to accept me and take me as His own. Ah, my sweetest Mother, for the love of thy sacrificed Son, help me always and at all times, and abandon me not. Never permit me to lose by my sins this most amiable Redeemer, Whom on this day thou didst offer with so bitter grief to the cruel death of the cross. Remind him that I am thy servant, that thou willest my salvation, and He will certainly graciously hear thee. Amen

    Hymn: O Gloriosa Virginum



    O Glorious Virgin, ever blest,
     Sublime above the starry sky,
     Who nurture from thy spotless breast
     To thy Creator didst supply.

    What we had lost through hapless Eve,
     The Blossom sprung from these restores,
     And, granting bliss to souls that grieve,
     Unbars the everlasting doors.

    O Gate, through which hath passed the King.
     O Hall, whence Light shone through the gloom;
     The ransomed nations praise and sing
     Life given from the Virgin womb.

    All honor, laud, and glory be,
     O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
     All glory, as is ever meet,
     To Father and to Paraclete.




    Roman Breviary




    _______________________________




    NOVENA:

     In preparation for the Feast of the Purification




    I. Bright mirror of all virtues, holiest Mary, forty days had scarcely elapsed from thy delivery when thou, though the purest of all virgins, didst will, according to the law, to be presented in the temple to be purified: grant that we, like thee, may keep our hearts unstained by sin, that so we, too, may be made worthy to be presented to our God in the temple of His glory.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    II. Virgin most obedient, at thy presentation in the temple thou didst will, like other women, to offer the wonted sacrifice: obtain for us that we, too, following thy example, may learn how to offer ourselves a living sacrifice to God, by practicing every virtue.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    III. Virgin most pure, in observing the precept of the law, thou didst care little that men should account thee unclean: ask for us grace to keep our hearts forever pure, however blamable the world may think us.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    IV. Virgin most holy, in offering thy divine Son to His eternal Father, thou didst gladden all the court of heaven: present our poor hearts to God, that He, by His grace, may keep them ever free from mortal sin.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    V. Virgin most humble, in placing Jesus in holy old Simeon's arms, thou didst fill his soul with heavenly joy: give our hearts into God's holy keeping, that He may fill them with His Holy Spirit.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    VI. Virgin most zealous, by redeeming thy Son, Jesus, according to the law, thou didst co-operate in the salvation of the world: ransom now our poor hearts from the slavery of sin, that so they may be ever pure before the face of God.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    VII. Virgin most meek, on hearing the prophecy of Simeon foretelling thy woes, thou didst promptly bow to the good pleasure of God: enable us also to bear all troubles with patience and resignation to His divine will.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    VIII. Virgin most compassionate, when through thy divine Son thou didst fill the soul of Anna the prophetess with light, thou didst make her magnify the mercies of God by recognizing Jesus as the Redeemer of the world: enrich our souls with heavenly grace, that we may largely share the fruit of the divine redemption.


    Hail Mary, etc.

     
    IX. Virgin most resigned, who didst feel thy soul transfixed with sorrow when in spirit thou didst foresee all the bitter passion of thy Son, and, knowing the grief of Joseph, thy spouse, for all thy sufferings, didst with holy words console him: pierce through and through our souls with true sorrow for our sins, that we may one day have the consolation to be made partakers of thy glory in heaven.


    Hail Mary, etc.



     Then say the Litany, and afterward:
    (Click here)



     
     V. Simeon received an answer from the Holy Spirit.
     R. That he should not see death until he had seen the Christ of the Lord.


     Let us pray:

     
    Almighty, everlasting God, we pray Thy majesty, that as Thine only begotten Son was presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so thou wouldst enable us to present ourselves before Thee with clean hearts. Amen





    _______________________________




    Visits to the Blessed Mother
    for every day in the week


     These visits usually follow immediately after those to the Blessed Sacrament. They are made by kneeling down before the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the Church, or before any image of hers, in whatever place it may be, and making use devoutly of the following reflections and prayers. Those who cannot always have access to the Church, will do well to keep a small image for this purpose in some retired part of the house.




    FOR SUNDAY

    A fertile source of blessings which it is our great happiness to possess, is Mary, our Mother, so rich in goods and graces, says St. Bernard, that there is not a man in the world who does not participate in them. We all receive of her fulness. God himself has filled her with grace, as the Angel said to her, "Hail! full of grace!" It is not for herself alone, but for us also, adds St. Peter Chrysologus, that she received this great treasure of grace, so that afterwards she might communicate it to her devout followers in every age.


    Prayer of St. Ephraim

    O Queen of the universe, and most bountiful sovereign! thou art the great advocate of sinners, the sure port of those who have suffered shipwreck, the resource of the world, the ransom of captives, the solace of the weak, the comfort of the afflicted, the refuge and salvation of every creature. O! full of grace! enlighten my understanding, and loosen my tongue, that I may recount thy praises, and sing to thee that angelical salutation which thou dost so justly merit. Hail! thou who art the peace, the joy, the consolation of the whole world! Hail! Paradise of delight, the sure asylum of all who are in danger, the source of grace, the mediatrix between God and man!



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"Refuge of sinners, take pity on me."


     
    At the end of each visit, repeat the following prayer, in order to obtain the powerful patronage of the Mother of God:

    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.



    FOR MONDAY

    "Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me." (Prov. ix.) Mary engages all those children who have need of a mother to come to her, as to the most tender of all mothers. The love of all the mothers in the world, says the pious Nieremberg, is no more than a shadow compared with that love which Mary bears to each one of us. My mother! mother of my soul! thou who, after God, lovest me and desirest my salvation more than all the world beside: O my Mother! show thyself to be indeed a mother.


    Prayer of St. Bernard

    Most sweet and amiable Mary! no one can pronounce thy name without feeling the greatest desire to love thee; and those who do love thee, cannot call thee to mind without being animated to love thee more. Pray for us to thy divine Son, that He may vouchsafe to strengthen our weakness: no one is better entitled to speak in our favour to thy God, and ours, than thyself, who art the nearest to Him. Intercede, then, for us, O blessed Mother, because thy Son hears thee, and thou canst obtain whatever thou wilt ask.



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"O Mary, obtain for me the grace to have constant recourse to thee."


    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.



    FOR TUESDAY

    O sweetest, most compassionate, and most amiable Sovereign! with what tender confidence St. Bernard inspires me, when I have recourse to thee! Thou dost not examine, he says, the merits of each one that has recourse to thy goodness, but thou dost promise help to all who will pray to thee. Thou wilt hear me willingly therefore if I pray. Behold, then, my petition! Listen: I am a poor sinner, and deserve a thousand hells. I desire, however, to change my life; I wish to love that God whom I have so much offended. I consecrate myself to thy service, I give myself to thee, all miserable as I am. O then, save now a penitent who is thine, and no more his own. O my Queen, hast thou heard me? Indeed, I hope thou hast both heard and blessed me.


    Prayer of St. Germain

    Most holy Virgin! who art the greatest consolation that I receive from God; thou who art the heavenly dew which assuages all my pains; thou who art the light of my soul when it is enveloped in darkness; thou who art my guide in unknown paths, the support of my weakness, my treasure in poverty, my remedy in sickness, my comfort in trouble, my refuge in misery, and the hope of my salvation: hear my supplications, have pity on me as becomes the Mother of so good a God, and obtain for me the favorable reception of all my petitions at the throne of mercy.



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"O merciful! O pious! O sweet Virgin Mary."


    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.



    FOR WEDNESDAY

    St. Bernard says, that Mary is that celestial ark which will surely save us from the wreck of eternal damnation, if we only take refuge there in time. The ark which saved Noe from the universal deluge was the type of Mary; but, says Hesychius, Mary is an ark more vast, more powerful, and more charitable. The ark of Noe could only receive the few men and animals who were saved in it, but Mary receives and saves with certainty all those who take refuge under her mantle. How unhappy should we be if we had not Mary; but, O my Queen, how many souls are lost? And why? Because they do not have recourse to thee. Who would ever be lost that had recourse to thee?


    Prayer of St. Anselm

    Help us, O Queen of mercy, without regarding the multitude of our sins. Remember that our Creator took of thee a human body, not to condemn, but to save sinners. Hadst thou been chosen to be the Mother of God for thy own benefit alone, thou mightest then be said to have no particular interest in our salvation; but God clothed himself in thy flesh for the sake of all mankind. Help us, therefore, and protect us. Thou knowest the need which we have of thy assistance, and we earnestly recommend ourselves to thy prayers. Pray that we may not be eternally lost, but with thee may love and serve Jesus Christ for ever.



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"O Mary, all my hopes are placed on thee."


    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.



    FOR THURSDAY

    What comfort I find in my troubles, how I am consoled in my sorrows, what strength I find in my temptations, when I think of thee, and call thee to my aid, O my sweet and holy mother, Mary! O Saints of Paradise, you had great reason to give my Sovereign Lady the beautiful names of "Harbour of the Afflicted," like St. Ephrem; "Remedy of our Misery," and "Consolation of the Unhappy," like St. Bonaventure; "End of our tears," like St. Germain. Dear Mary, console me, then, for I see myself all covered with sins, and surrounded by enemies, without virtue, and grown cold in the love of God. Comfort me, comfort me! Bring me the consolation which springs from the beginning of a new life, a life truly pleasing to thy Son and to thee.


    Prayer of St. John Damascen

    Hail, Mary! thou hope of Christians. Hear the petition of a sinner who wishes to love thee with the greatest tenderness, and to honour thee as thou deservest, and who reposes in thee, next after God, his hope of salvation. Indebted as I am to thee for the preservation of my life, I entreat thee to restore me to the grace of thy divine Son. Thou art the surest pledge of my salvation; deliver me, then, by thy prayers, from the heavy load of my sins. Disperse the darkness of my understanding ; banish every inordinate affection from my heart; repress the temptations of my spiritual enemies, and so order my life, that, under thy protection, I may arrive at eternal repose in heaven.



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"Change my heart, Mary, my Mother, thou canst do it.''


    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.



    FOR FRIDAY

    St. Bernard assures us that the charity of Mary towards us could not be more tender nor more powerful than it is, for her heart is always full of compassion for us, and her good will is accompanied with power to help us. So, then, most pure and virgin Queen, thou art rich in power and rich in compassion. Thou art both able and desirous to save us all. I will pray to thee today and always in the words of the devout Blosius: O my Sovereign, protect me in my combats, fortify me in my weakness. O most holy Mary, in this great contest which I sustain against hell, aid me always: but if ever thou seest me wavering and ready to yield, O my Sovereign, stretch out thy hand to me without delay, and sustain me more powerfully. O God, what temptations still remain to be surmounted until death! Ah! Mary, my refuge, my strength, and my hope, never permit that I should lose the grace of God, for I am resolved, in all my temptations, to have always immediate recourse to thee.


    Prayer of St. Bernard

    Remember, Mary, that it was never heard of, that a sinner had fled to thy protection, and had been abandoned by thee. O Mother of God, thou prayest for all; pray, then, for me, who am the greatest of sinners, and therefore have the greatest need of thy intercession.



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"Help me, Mary! Mary, help me!"


    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.



    FOR SATURDAY

    The blessed Amadeus says that Mary, our most glorious Queen, remains continually in the presence of God, as our advocate, interposing in our favour the assistance of her prayers, which are all-powerful before Him. For, he continues, she sees our miseries and our dangers, and in her clemency this amiable Sovereign has pity on us, and comes to our aid with a mother's love. O my advocate, and my most tender mother, it is then true that thou seest the miseries of my soul, the dangers by which I am surrounded, and that thou prayest for me. Pray, yes, pray on, and do not cease to pray, until thou seest me safe in paradise, there occupied in praising thee. The pious Blosius assures me that thou art, after Jesus, the sure salvation of those who are thy faithful servants. Ah! the grace which I ask of thee today is, that thou wilt grant to me the happiness to be thy faithful servant until death, in order that after death I may go to bless thee in heaven, certain there to be no more exposed to stray away from thy sacred feet, so long as God is God.


    Prayer of St. Hildefonsus

    O My Sovereign, and Mother of my God, thou art blessed amongst all women, pure amongst all virgins, and queen of all the heavenly host: all nations call thee blessed. Vouchsafe that I may publish as much as possible thy greatness, that I may love thee to the utmost of my power, and that I may serve thee with all the capacity of my soul.



    Short prayer to remember and repeat.--"O that I may learn to praise thee, most sacred Virgin!"



    Most holy and immaculate Virgin, my Mother Mary, it is to thee, the Mother of my God, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope, and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today: I, who am the most miserable of all. I love thee, O most amiable Sovereign, and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always, and do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee, after God, all my hopes. I confide my salvation to thy care. Accept me for thy servant, and receive me under thy mantle, O mother of mercy, and since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Obtain for me. I beseech thee, a perfect love for Jesus Christ. To thee I look for grace to make a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, and particularly at the decisive moment of death. Do not leave me until thou seest me safe in heaven, occupied in blessing thee, and singing thy mercies throughout eternity. Amen.





    _______________________________




     Prayer to Mary on the Feast of the Purification
     by St. Alphonsus de Liguori



    O holy Mother of God, and my Mother Mary, thou wast so deeply interested in my salvation as to offer to death the dearest object of thy heart, thy beloved Jesus! Since, then, thou didst so much desire to see me saved, it is right that, after God, I should place all my hopes in thee. O yes, most Blessed Virgin, I do indeed entirely confide in thee. Ah, by the merit of the great sacrifice which thou didst offer this day to God, the sacrifice of the life of thy Son, entreat Him to have pity on my poor soul, for which this Immaculate Lamb did not refuse to die on the cross. I could desire, O my Queen, to offer my poor heart to God on this day, in imitation of Thee; but I fear that, seeing it so sordid and loathsome, He may refuse it. But if thou offerest it to Him, He will not reject it. He is always pleased with and accepts the offerings presented to Him by your most pure hands. To thee, then, O Mary, do I this day present myself, miserable as I am; to thee do I give myself without reserve. Do thou offer me as thy servant, together with Jesus to the Eternal Father; and beseech Him, by the merits of thy Son and for thy sake, to accept me and take me as His own. Ah, my sweetest Mother, for the love of thy sacrificed Son, help me always and at all times, and abandon me not. Never permit me to lose by my sins this most amiable Redeemer, Whom on this day thou didst offer with so bitter grief to the cruel death of the cross. Remind him that I am thy servant, that thou willest my salvation, and He will certainly graciously hear thee. Amen




    _______________________________




    Why we have devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary



    Every true and pious Catholic will preserve in his heart a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and this for many and most obvious reasons, among which are the following:

    1. It is Mary who gave birth to Jesus Christ our Redeemer: she is, therefore, the true Mother of God. Think seriously for a moment, Christian, on these few words: Mary Is The Mother Of God. Could God bestow on her a nobler name, or a greater dignity? O then, with what eyes will not one day Jesus look on those who would not honour his Blessed Mother, although He Himself has honoured her so much! Is there indeed a creature more beloved by God than Mary, and will you not love her whom God loves so much?

    2. The Holy Church of God itself teaches us devotion to Mary. How many churches and altars have been erected in her honour, how many feasts instituted for her glory, how many confraternities and even religious orders established under her name, how many treasures of grace and of indulgences have been attached by the church to the practice of honouring Mary!

    Has not God performed innumerable miracles through her intercession, as so many privileged places of devotion and of pilgrimage show us? Have not kings and princes placed their states under her protection? All who truly revere Jesus Christ raise their voices in honour of Mary. For how can he honour the Son, who despises the Mother?

    3. Mary is our Hope. The Holy Church names her so, when she salutes her with these words: "Hail, our Hope! "God refuses her nothing that she asks, because He is her Son. Neither will she refuse anything to us because she is our Mother. Jesus gave her to us for our Mother, with these words: "Woman, behold thy son!" She is the tenderest, the most devoted, the most compassionate, and most loving of all mothers. Are you a great sinner? Do not despair of salvation on that account: pray to Mary, the refuge of sinners, and you will not sink in the stormy waves of the sea of life. Would you grow in virtue? Ask of Mary, the Queen of Saints, and she will certainly obtain grace for you. Are you troubled? Call on Mary, the consoler of the unhappy, and you will certainly be comforted.

    "Remember, O most compassionate Virgin," St. Bernard exclaims, "that it never was heard that any one has sought for refuge under thy protection, without obtaining relief!"

    Cultivate carefully, then, in your heart, this devotion to the blessed Mother of God, and be sure that Mary will obtain for you great graces in return for the little acts of love and homage which you offer to her. In particular, do not neglect those devotions which are so well approved and so generally practised by devout Catholics, such as the visits to the Blessed Virgin, the Litany, and the Rosary.





    _______________________________




    The Feast of the Purification



    The law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, to suggest both to us and to them, that by the sin of Adam man is conceived and born in sin, ordained that a woman after child-birth should continue for a time in a state which that law calls unclean; during which she was not to appear in public nor presume to touch anything consecrated to God. This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and the time was doubled for a daughter: on the expiration of which, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle, or temple, a lamb of a year old, and a young pigeon or turtle-dove. The lamb was for a holocaust, or burnt-offering, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God and in thanksgiving for her own happy delivery; the pigeon or turtle-dove was for a sin-offering. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity and reinstated in her former privileges.

    A young pigeon or turtle-dove, by way of sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor: but, whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on persons of narrow circumstances, in this case nothing more was required than two pigeons, or two turtle-doves, one for a burnt, the other for a sin-offering.

    Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and His Blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is most evident, from the terms of the law, that she was in reality under no obligation to it, nor within the intent of it. She was, however, within the letter of the law, in the eyes of the world which was as yet a stranger to her miraculous conception. And her humility, making her perfectly resigned and even desirous to conceal her privilege and dignity, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Pride indeed proclaims its own advantages, and seeks honors not its due, but the humble find their delight in obscurity and abasement; they shun all distinction and esteem, which they clearly see their own nothingness and baseness to be most unworthy of; they give all glory to God alone, to Whom it is due. Devotion also and zeal to honor God by every observance prescribed by His law prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself, she made the offering appointed for the poor: accordingly is this part of the law mentioned by St. Luke as best agreeing with the lowliness of her worldly condition. But her offering, however mean in itself, was made by a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to Him. The King of Glory would appear everywhere in the robes of poverty, to point out to us the advantages of a suffering and lowly state, and to repress our pride, by which, though really poor and mean in the eyes of God, we covet to appear rich, and, though sinners, would be deemed innocent and saints.

    A second great mystery is honored this day, regarding more immediately the person of Our Redeemer, namely, His presentation in the Temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God: and in these two laws were included several others, as, that the child, after its presentation, should be ransomed with a certain sum of money, and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.

    Mary complies exactly with all these rules. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, as in presenting herself to be purified, and in her offering her First-born, but with strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home; she denies herself all this time the liberty of entering the Temple; she partakes not of things sacred, though the living temple of the God of Israel; and on the day of her purification, she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world's Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the Temple makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation. and presents her Divine Son by the hands of the priest to His Eternal Father with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems Him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives Him back again as a safekeeping in her special care till the Father shall again demand Him for the full accomplishment of man's redemption. It is clear that Christ was not included in the law: "The king's son, to whom the inheritance of the crown belongs, is exempt from servitude--much more so Christ, the Redeemer of both our souls and bodies was not subject to any law by which He was to be Himself redeemed," as St. Hilary observes. But He would set an example of humility, obedience and devotion: and would renew, in a solemn and public manner, and in the Temple the oblation of Himself to His Father for the accomplishment of His will and the redemption, of man, which he had made privately in the first moment of His Incarnation. "With what sentiments did the Divine Infant offer Himself to His Father and at the same time the greatest homage of His honor and glory the Father could receive, and a sacrifice of satisfaction equal to the injuries done to the Godhead by our sins and sufficient to ransom our souls from everlasting death! "With what cheerfulness and charity did He offer Himself to all His torments, to be whipped, crowned with thorns, and ignominiously put to death for us!

    Let every Christian learn hence to offer himself to God with his Divine Victim, through which he may be accepted by the Father; let him devote himself with all his senses and faculties to His service. If sloth or any other vice has made us neglectful of this essential duty, we must bewail past omissions and make a solemn and serious consecration of ourselves this day to the Divine Majesty with the greater fervor, crying out with St. Austin, in compunction of heart: "Too late have I known Thee, too late have I begun to love Thee, O beauty more ancient than the world!" But our sacrifice, if we desire it to be accepted, must not be lame and imperfect. It would be an insult to offer to God, in union with His Christ, a divided heart, or a heart infested with willful sin. It must therefore first be cleansed by tears of sincere compunction: its affections must be crucified to the world by perfect mortification. Our offering must be sincere and fervent, without reserve, allowing no quarter to any of our vicious passions and inclinations, and no division in any of our affections. It must also be universal; to suffer and to do all for the divine honor. If we give our hearts to Christ in this manner, we shall receive Him with His graces and benedictions. He would be presented in the Temple by the hands of His Mother: let us accordingly make the offering of our souls through Mary and beg His graces through the same channel.

    The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery, the meeting in the Temple of the holy persons Simeon and Anna, with Jesus and His parents, from which this festival was anciently called by the Greeks, Hypante, the meeting. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God in raptures of devotion, of being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so much longed for Messias. He foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow; and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians also whose lives were a contradiction to His holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer a word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God's holy will. Anna also, the prophetess, who in her widowhood served God with great fervor, adored in this great mystery the world's Redeemer. Amidst the crowd of priests and people, the Savior of the world is known only by Simeon and Anna. Even when He disputed with the doctors, and when He wrought the most stupendous miracles, the learned, the wise and the princes did not know Him. Yet here, while a weak, speechless child, carried in the arms of His poor Mother, He is acknowledged and adored by Simeon and Anna. He could not hide Himself from those who sought Him with fervor, humility, and ardent love. "Unless we seek Him in these dispositions, He will not manifest Himself, nor communicate His graces to us. Simeon, having beheld His Saviour in the flesh, desired no longer to see the light of this world, nor any creatures on earth. If we truly love God, our distance from Him must be a continual pain; and we must sigh after the desired moment which will free us from the danger of ever losing Him by sin and will put us in possession of Him Who is the joy of the blessed, and the infinite treasure of Heaven. Let us never cease to pray that He purify our hearts from all earthly dross, and draw them to Himself: that He heal, satiate and inflame our souls, as He came upon earth only to kindle in all our hearts the fire of His love.

    You surely will not be ungrateful to so much love. Visit Him, adore Him, receive Him into your heart, and then, when Jesus has been your comfort in life, He will be your consolation in death. He will come to visit you on your deathbed; He will bless you and be your Viaticum on the great journey to eternity. Then indeed will you break forth into the inspired words of holy Simeon: ''Now I will die content and close my eyes in peace, since I have seen the Lord, Who has comforted me. Soon these mortal eyes will be closed in death, but the eyes of my soul will be opened, and I shall behold my beloved Jesus for all eternity."






     


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