Entrance of Birthgiver in Temple
There is an old proverb from God's Book that says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22: 6. Today we celebrate with solemnity a feast day that initiates this truth and continues it in the life of the Mother of God. Long before, her parents, the righteous Joachim and Anna were grieved because of their childlessness. But they never lost faith. Although they could not understand it, nor actually accept it, they knew in the depth of their heart and soul our loving and merciful heavenly Father had a upright reason and purpose for it. Certainly in their wildest imagination, they would never have dreamed how noble and magnanimous God's purpose actually was. They were slowly but inexorably in their poverty of spirit being formed more perfectly to become the most important parents the world had ever seen. Their generosity would be increased and their faith made unshakeable; their steadfastness of devotion multiplied beyond measure.
They would be able to perceive and understand what other mere mortals would easily miss. Although seemingly empty without children, their life would be enriched in its final moments of feverish activity in preparation for the birth of their daughter who be graced with heavenly riches in being chosen above all created souls to be a living temple of the eternal and life-giving God!
He who cannot be contained in the heavens above, will find an acceptable and worthy place within her pure and immaculate body and grow there as a human being to enter the created world and transform, save and redeem and transfigure it that redemption might once again become a vital part of man's earthly legitimate heritage.
Their daughter whom they today come to the temple to introduce to the earthly physical temple where the glory of God dwells, will learn within its environs how greatly our God exalts souls eager to fulfill his will.
She then becomes for us, who believe, the platitera, the one more spacious than the heavens themselves because the Creator God judges her delicate physical frame to be more than worthy as the enabling and assistive physical Godly device with which the humanity of the Son of God is nourished and clothed!
Thus the Mother of God who enters the temple today becomes a temple in her own right because long before she conceived him in the flesh within her, she already conceive him in faith and spirit in her heart and soul. This entrance into the temple of the child Mary is but the beginning of a long pilgrimage of continued and increasing faith. What begins as a small seed of incipient, almost invisible devotion will grow into a huge conflagration that will emblazon the entire earth in the life of her Son and our God. Thus we see the truth of St. John made manifest: "One man sows, another reaps" John 4: 37. The faith of Joachim and Anna are fulfilled and made complete in their spiritual life by the life itself of their only daughter, destined for and associated and aligned with the salvation of the world.
Thus our Lord himself, their grandson in the flesh, is able to rejoice because the richness of their lives has provided an introduction to be made complete of God's never-ending and all encompassing plan of salvation to become final reality. What is initiated in the good will of Joachim and Anna here in the temple and before, finds its glorious and astounding fulfillment in the salutary life of our Saviour. Thus we see inevitably linked all the succeeding holy events of salvation history into one neverending, on-going tapestry of concern and blessing. How fortunate and blessed is the reminder of our Lord, "I send you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the labor and you have come into their gain" John 4: 38.
How grateful ought we to be, how thankful our heart and soul that the cooperative efforts of Joachim and Anna have brought us into this day, that what begins in two generations before Christ finds its fulfillment in our own time and place, many generations beyond.
Thanksgiving brings the parents of Mary to the temple. Gratitude keeps her safely living there. An appreciative heart fills her being as she praises and glorifies God in its sacred precincts.
Just as the word Eucharist means thanksgiving, so we too are privileged to be here at this celebration in giving thanks not just once a year as our nation attempts to do, but every Sunday, every feast day, every opportunity we have the strength and wherewithal to appear in his presence and raise our voice and our soul to exalt his holy name and praise him for the boundless ways He always blesses us.
This feast day is an inspiration of soul, it is an occasion to give thinks and duplicate its spirit within our own.
May our God always be praised and thanked for his rich and munificent myriad blessings in our lives!