The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today, November 21, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the fact that the parents of Our Lady brought her to the Temple and handed her over to live there for a long period as a virgin consecrated to the Temple, contemplating God exclusively. Also known as the Dedication of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the feast originated in the East, where it is called the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos Into the Temple.
The story of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary captures the essential gospel portrayal of Mary totally committed to living out the will of God in her life. Her own willing, steadfast obedience lies at the heart of her life of self-sacrifice offered in love.
History of the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Protoevangelium of James (7-8), and the writing entitled “De nativit. Mariae” (7-8), state that Joachim and Anna, faithful to a vow they had made, presented the child Mary in the Temple when she was three years old; that the child herself mounted the Temple steps, and that she made her vow of virginity on this occasion. St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Germanus of Constantinople adopt this report; it is also followed by pseudo-Gregory of Nazianzus in his “Christus patiens”. Moreover, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation, though it does not specify at what age the child Mary was presented in the Temple, when she made her vow of virginity, and what were the special natural and supernatural gifts with which God endowed her. The feast is mentioned for the first time in a document of Manuel Commenus, in 1166; from Constantinople the feast must have been introduced into the western Church, where we find it at the papal court at Avignon in 1371; about a century later, Pope Sixtus IV introduced the Office of the Presentation, and in 1585 Pope Sixtus V extended the Feast of the Presentation to the whole Church.
~ Catholic Encyclopedia
Saint Quote for the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“There never was, and never will be, an offering on the part of a creature greater or more perfect than that which Mary made to God when, at the age of three, she presented herself in the Temple. She offered him not aromatic spices, nor calves, nor gold, but her entire self, consecrating herself as a perpetual victim in his honor.”
~ St. Alphonsus Liguori
As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.