Friday, 21 November 2008

The Presentation of the BVM in the Temple

I was taught how to serve Mass on the altar which is beneath this reredos (reproduced above). It depicts the festivity of today, the mystery of the presentation of Mary in the Temple.
This day is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as many years ago a church built next to the remains of the temple in Jerusalem was dedicated and named after her. This church is no more. But what we celebrate today is an event that is found in the apocryphal gospel of James (written about AD 150). There we find the story that when Mary was three years old her parents: Joachim and Anna, took her to the temple to receive her education as a boarding student, which education she kept receiving till she was twelve when she was betrothed to Joseph. Why celebrate a feast of Mary’s time in the temple?
I understand this feast like this: Mary lived very close to the Holy of Holies the place where the chosen people of God believed was the presence of God. Mary grew up near this presence. There she waited on God in silence, by listening to those who taught her. There she developed the skills of discipleship – how could she ever ponder in her heart the mysteries of the Lord if she was not already trained to do so. There, in her hidden years in the temple she opened her heart to God and He took delight and saw that she was ready to fulfil His will in her life. All this happens in the silence of the Temple school and at the same time the normality of every day life at a school.
In the normality of life God delights in us too if we offer to dwell in the silence of His Temple, that temple not made by hands, his Son Jesus Christ. And Mary, again, shows us the way.


Yesterday was almost all taken up by meetings. One of which was a preparation meeting for an event organised by Forward in Faith Rochester that is taking place at the end of January 2009. If God wills it this might be a moment of grace and growth.
The stability of the Offices and the Holy Sacrifice hinge the day together and put all other things in perspective. Today after the daily round of morning religion (Mass offered on the altar of Our Lady of Walsingham) is the visit to our local hospital – a ministry that is much at my heart as it takes me very near to our Lord suffering in those people. Then, after a simple lunch, is Sacred Space – that space where the mind and soul rest in silence in front of the Real Presence and all brought to a close by Benediction. Pew sheet and other lists will be printed and admin to be done, a day of joy as we near that great feast of Christ the Universal King.

Sunday 23rd November
Forward in Faith & Church Union Diocese of Rochester

Annual Celebration of the Feast of Christ the King
4.00 pm Procession and Benediction

at St Barnabas Beckenham
Preacher: Canon Paul Miller

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