The Presentation of the Lord
We have a lovely statue in our chapel – Our Lady of Mt Carmel (of Beacon!) which always makes me smile. Mary is a young woman holding her child and looking quietly confident as she faces the future and walks purposefully into it.
As I’ve grown older, my relationship with Mary has changed. I love the young girl but relate more now, to the older woman. One year, after the Holy Thursday evening Mass, I found myself wondering about Mary’s thoughts/feelings on that first Holy Thursday; about what had been happening during those days in Jerusalem, the final days of her Son’s earthly life.
No doubt she had picked up some of the reactions of the crowds. Many in those crowds had enthusiastically followed him and that roused jealousy in the ruling class – and possibly the Roman authorities as well. Surely Mary must have had misgivings when Jesus and some of his disciples went out that night to pray. Was he in danger? Would he come back? Would his friends protect him?
Did her thoughts bring her back to a sunny morning when she and Joseph brought their infant son to the Temple to present him to God? It was a day filled with joy and expectation. There were those in the temple who met them eagerly and congratulated them on their new son. There was Anna, that gentle old woman… and there was Simeon, at first so quiet, who looked intently at her and startled them with those strange words, “Your own heart, a sword shall pierce.” Scripture says she “pondered these words in her heart.” Did they puzzle her, frighten her, and perhaps, somehow comfort her as the years went by and her son grew strong and more sure of himself?
All we really know is that “Mary pondered these words” as she lived, day by day as we do, with the graces of everyday.
This is the woman I walk with now, the still-confident woman who walks with the awareness of God’s presence, who allowed the Spirit to guide her, who grew in age and grace as Jesus himself did, the woman who accompanies us through the sorrows and the joys of life.