“We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this fourth decade in honor of Thy Presentation in the Temple by the hands of Mary, and we ask of Thee, through this Mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, the gift of wisdom and purity of heart and body.” (St. Louis de Montfort)
The Mystery of the Presentation presents us with two distinct jewels, but for now we will focus on the first. Wisdom is one of the seven “spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit which enables one to know the purpose and plan of God.” (definition taken from the CCC)
From Mary and Joseph’s fulfillment of all that was required of them at the time of Our Lord’s presentation, to the prophesies of Simeon and Anna, this Mystery is full of examples of great wisdom.
In Jesus’ time, the firstborn son of any Jewish woman was brought to the Temple to be presented to God. All children are a gift from God, and this presentation shows that the parents willingly offer their child back to Him. They, in a sense, consecrate the child to Him through this ceremony. And He happily accepts.
As Mary and Joseph brought the Infant Jesus up the Temple steps to present the Lamb of God to the Father, they met Simeon. The Holy Spirit dwelt within him, and he was given the gift of wisdom. As he held the Infant Jesus in his arms, he spoke of what he saw, giving one of the Church’s most beloved canticles, full of prophesy and acknowledging Jesus as Savior.
Jesus was, as it was revealed to Simeon, the light unto the nations full of both hope and contradiction. But his wisdom was not limited to Christ’s future. Mary was so closely joined with her Son and God’s plan, the wisdom of Simeon allowed him to see the powerful yet painful role she was to play in our salvation as well.
The widow Anna, upon seeing the Christ Child, was also able to discern God’s will for the world. These two prophets, although they seem to play such a tiny role in the bible as a whole, play a huge role in this particular scene. Without them and their wisdom, the Presentation in the Temple might hardly be considered a mystery at all. But because they were witnesses to the Presentation and to God’s will, they added great significance to this moment in Our Lord’s and our Lady’s lives.
Indeed, the Presentation in the Temple illustrates what a great treasure wisdom is, for when we know God’s plan, we are able to direct all we do to fulfill His wishes. We should remember to remain close to Him in prayer, that, if it be His will that we are blessed with wisdom, we will more readily hear His call.
But do not sit and wait to hear from Him. You can still perhaps get a glimpse of God’s greater plan for you if you take stock of what He has already blessed you with. God does not hand out gifts on a whim, but gives them to us for very distinct purposes. For Mary, the greatest gift she ever received was Christ Himself. So, she happily offered Jesus back to God the Father at the Presentation in the Temple.
Whether our own God-given gifts are our children, talents or material wealth, we must be open to discerning how God wants us to use these gifts for His glory. Meditate on this Mystery and how Mary offered her Son to God with no hesitation. What is it He may be calling you to present back to Him? And what glory can you give to Him through these gifts?
As you explore these questions, God’s purpose and will for the special gifts he had chosen to give to you just might be revealed to you for the first time. And once wisdom comes and you see His plan and how you are to make it work, make no hesitation in offering these gifts back to Him. For as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has said of this Mystery, “The highest use any of us can make of the gifts of God is to give them back to God again.”
“Grace of the mystery of the Purification, come down into my soul and make it really wise and really pure.”
Copyright 2010 Cassandra Poppe