“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord...And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”Luke 2:22-38
The presentation in the temple, which is akin to the baptism, is a sign of obedience, that we, as Catholics, know so well. I think a baptism has more purpose, in that it washes clean the soul from original sin, but the root of obedience and gratitude to God is the same, as well as the promise to live a faithful life. After everything Mary and Joseph had been through, they dedicated their son, Jesus, our Lord, to our Father. In this act, the family asked for continued guidance and grace in raising their son. We ask the Holy Trinity for faithfulness and self-control, both of which can be attained through active Christian lives, more so than being a “cafeteria Catholic,” which we might all be accused of at times.
How often do we hear people complain about the “demands” of the Catholic Church? At 32, I have been raised in the Church, attended Catholic schooling in elementary, secondary, and at the university level, and every single day there is a new piece of information that I learn about my faith. The Church is not demanding, in that the constant education it is providing allows us parishioners to take control of our faith and better live it in this sin-filled world. Many times finding the time to pray is difficult, but how often does saying just one Hail Mary completely help the situation?! Asking the Lord for continued aid in self-control for prayer can only help each one of us in our daily lives.
At the agony in the garden, Jesus asks Simon to keep watch for only one hour, “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test,” Mark 14:37-38. Jesus asks us directly to pray for at least an hour, preferably a day, I would guess. The only way to defeat the devil is prayer. The best way to learn to pray properly is by attending Mass. The way to start attending the Mass fully is to be dedicated to the Church and her teachings.
Reflect: How is your prayer life right now? Is there something that you should be doing to improve it?
Reflect: The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a blessing to us. When was the last time you made a good confession? Do you need to make time in your schedule for this sacrament?
Act: Today, while praying on the decade dedicated to the presentation of Jesus in the temple, ask our Lord for the strength to attend Mass every holy day of obligation; ask the Lord for the strength to be active in your faith and enjoy your time in prayer as one of the greatest blessings available. Thank the Lord today for presenting you to the “temple.”