Introducing the Blessed Virgin Mary into the temple.
Pious submission tells us that the God-fearing couple, Joachim and Anna, had no children. They often prayed to God to bless them with offspring. They promised that if their prayer were answered, they would sacrifice the child born to them in the service of God. God, who listens to his chosen ones, “who call to him day and night” (Lk 18, 7), also heard their prayers. They had a daughter, whom they named Maria. Faithful to their promise, they bring her to the Jerusalem temple in the third year of her life to serve God with her pure life. Today’s holiday reminds us of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We sing about it in church services: “The Virgin gloriously enters the temple of God.” He announces the coming of Christ to everyone…” (Troparist). The liturgical texts further recall that “the angels were amazed when they saw the Virgin entering the sanctuary of the saints” at this event. Why does the Eastern Church sanctify this arrival of the Virgin Mary in the Jerusalem temple with such emphasis? Was her arrival such a profound moment? Yes! The Virgin Mary entered the Jerusalem temple at the age of three, and there she lived her entire youth in prayer and the most incredible purity to become worthy to be the mother of the Son of God and our Redeemer. The Holy Fathers say that the Virgin Mary accepted God as her Father and sought to find grace with him. Precisely because of her perfection, God “looked upon the lowliness of his servant” (Lk 1:48) and chose her as the Mother of God and our Representative. With this service, she also set an example for us so that we can find grace with God in our lives. A specific Catholic writer wanted to convince his readers that everyone can achieve holiness independently of their life’s work. He wrote: “There is no difference before God whether you scrape potatoes or build cathedrals. Potatoes and cathedrals will not enter the kingdom of God. You will be judged solely according to your good or bad intentions.” In his memoirs, National Artist Rudolf Deyl writes: “Many actors preferred to leave the theater rather than play the small roles assigned to them. They usually didn’t make it anywhere. Great actors did not disdain a small role. There are no small tasks; there are only small people.” We did not receive and will not receive the extraordinary graces given to Our Lady… We were given small tasks that each one of us could handle. We all have our role in this world and must fulfill it consistently. In one of his songs, the famous Czech singer Waldemar Matuška sings about his father, a weak but modest man who did not excel in anything but was more significant than the king in that one thought: “You must never be lazy, you must not be afraid of work. Just try to do as well as you know what you are doing; enjoy doing it.”
Very nice words. May they be applied not only in song but also in life. And that is what we believers are all about when we worship the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. So that we sing nice words about her, pray to her, and live according to her example. The Virgin Mary was entrusted with a tremendous task: To be the Mother of the world’s Savior! She confesses it in her eulogy: “He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Lk 1, 49). God did not entrust us with such tasks. We only have small tasks, sometimes many, some difficult, but still doable. God asks us to fulfill and love them as best we can. If we follow in the footsteps of the Virgin Mary in such a service, we, too, will find grace with God.
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