Friday, February 02, 2007

The Presentation of the Lord...joyful and sorrowful

Simeon is joyful:

He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

Yet this fact is, as Simeon foretells about Jesus himself, "a sign of contradition."

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Simeon's prophesy is also the first of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Joy and sorrow meld together, and this is a good thing.

Like Simeon, and like Anna, we have been given the miraculous gift of intimate Communion with Jesus Christ, present in Tabernacles throughout the world, present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, present within us as we receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament.

Lent is approaching.

Again, the joy and sorrow our Faith demands is with us. Today, we rejoice with Simeon as he cradles the Messiah, as we receive Our Savior. Soon, God willing, we will welcome the final stage of catechumens and candidates as, on the First Sunday of Lent, they and we celebrate the Rite of Election.

Good Friday soon follows.

And as Simeon foretells, a sword shall pierce our hearts as we relive those hours of agony that only the purest of love could offer us.

And then...and then...Easter.

Twenty days from now, God willing, we will begin to repent in earnest. For forty days, we will make ourselves strong through prayer and fasting.

And then there will be Easter.

Joy, and sorrow, and glory.

That's what being Catholic is all about.

A blessed Candlemas to you!