May 5th. – Instruction V. The Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

May 5th. – Instruction 5. The Presentation of Mary in the Temple.


My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

May 5th. – Instruction 5. The Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear: forget thy people and thy father’s house.” – Ps. xliv. ii.

The holy Fathers, who were the custodians of the old traditions, assure us that at the early age of three years Mary was presented in the temple by her parents, and was then consecrated to the service of God forever. We have another instance of this custom among the Jews. The devout Anne dedicated her son Samuel to the service of the Lord, and destined him to serve in the temple during his whole life, under the orders of the great high-priest. In the vast temple there were apartments destined for the young girls who were consecrated to God in this particular manner. At an age when children hardly manifest the first indications of intelligence Mary possessed the plenitude of reason. Already she had heard and fully understood the words which the Holy Spirit addressed to her: “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear: forget thy people and thy father’s house.” To-day let us follow this child of three years making the complete offering of herself to God in the temple. Her example will teach us to give ourselves to God promptly, fully, and irrevocably.

1. Promptly. – If the Blessed Virgin had judged of this matter according to the prudence of the world, how many motives would she not have had to refuse God her service and postpone or delay her presentation in the temple!

At the age of three years did she not need the protection, the care, and the assistance of her parents? Would her extreme delicacy permit her to endure the severity of the rules then prevailing at the temple? The young girls consecrated to the service of the temple were employed in the making of sacred ornaments, vestments, and those articles which were used in the public service; of what utility could she be in this work? Was not her self-sacrifice premature? Was it not unnatural for her to abandon her parents and friends? And was it not a severe trial for her parents, who were now advanced in years? How often are these objections advanced in many a Christian household to-day, when there is question of a sacerdotal or religious vocation, ay, even when there is question of performing the ordinary duties of a Christian life! But such reasoning is not found in Mary’s conduct. Well does she know that God is the first Father, the first Master, and, therefore, has the first claim on her service. She has heard His sweet invitation. She responds as her beloved Son, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me” (John iv. 34).

We belong to God, and for the same reason as Mary. For the same reason we should promptly offer Him our service. In the Sacrament of Baptism we have been consecrated to His service. What blindness and ingratitude on our part to refuse to serve Him from our youth, and to give Him only the remnant of a life spent in the folly and vanity of the world! With the great St. Augustine we should weep bitterly for the years we have passed far from the service of God. With this saint we can say: “It is too late, O Lord, that I have commenced to love Thee and to serve Thee.”

2. Fully. – The generosity of the Blessed Virgin in giving herself to the service of God is equalled only by her desire to do so fully. In presenting herself to the Lord in His temple she gives herself to Him without the slightest reserve. And here her conduct condemns that sacrilegious compromise which so many half-hearted Christians make between Christ and the world, between heaven and earth, between the Church and what is called modern society. Some thought, indeed, they give to religion, some points of the law are really observed, some religious observances in the family are preserved; but beyond these – in the affairs of life, in their relations with the world – they show that their heart is divided, and they long for their share in the joys and pleasures of the present life. But we must not forget this truth – God is a jealous God. He cannot endure unfaithful souls who strive to serve two masters. By the mouth of the prophet Elias He tells us: “If the Lord is your God, then follow Him.” Thus we see Mary cheerfully ascending the steps of the temple and making to God the entire offering of her mind and heart, her thoughts and affections, her will and all her works. And this generosity marks her whole life. Such will you find her later on at Nazareth, at Bethlehem, in Egypt, on Calvary with Jesus her Son, in the cenacle with the apostles, at Ephesus, and at Jerusalem with St. John. She belongs to God in her youth, she will be engaged in His service during life, she will be His faithful one even to death.

3. Irrevocably. – The offering which Mary gave of herself to God was final, beyond recalling, irrevocable. Far from ever relaxing in her devotion to God, we see her in the temple, even as her divine Son, “increasing in wisdom and in age and in grace before God and men.” Oh, what inconstancy do we see in men who have once devoted themselves to God’s service! After having served Him for a time, they abandon and even betray Him Whom they had vowed to serve always. How long are the baptismal engagements observed – the good resolutions of a first communion, the promises renewed at the mission or retreat? Oh, how little it requires to disturb even pious souls and separate them from the service of God! Oftentimes the merest trifle suffices – the applause of men, the greed of gain, a trifling pleasure, a passing glory. Again, a temptation, a trial, even a slight reverse, and the timid soul is discouraged. But see the lifelong example of Mary. Does she ever recoil before suffering, sorrow, or sacrifice?

No, she constantly manifests herself the ever-faithful Virgin, as the Church styles her when chanting her praises. After her example, from this day forward let us generously vow our service to God, and without reserve. Let Him be the absolute Master of your soul, your body, your goods, your life, and your death.

Make this offering, once and for all, irrevocable. “Lord, to whom else shall we go?” “Thou alone hast the words of eternal life.” With Mary we wish to belong to Thee in time, that we may be Thine also in eternity.


My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.


Of supporting Injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

   Ill. He is not a truly patient man, who will suffer no more than he thinks good, and from whom he pleaseth.
The truly patient man minds not by whom it is he is exercised, whether by his superior, or by one of his equals, or by an inferior; whether by a good and holy man, or by one that is perverse and unworthy.
But how much soever and how often soever any adversity happens to him from anything created, he takes it all with equality of mind, as from the hand of God, with thanksgiving, and esteems it a great gain.
For nothing, how little soever, that is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God.. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt 3.


May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty

O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.

A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)

The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.

Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).

O Most Holy One (O Sanctissima)

O most holy one,
O most lowly one,
Dearest Virgin Maria!
Mother of fair Love,
Home of the Spirit Dove,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Help in sadness drear,
Port of gladness near,
Virgin Mother Maria!
In pity heeding,
Hear thou our pleading,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Call we fearfully,
Sadly, tearfully,
Save us now, O Maria!
Let us not languish,
Heal thou our anguish,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Mother, Maiden fair,
Look with loving care,
Hear our pray’r, O Maria!
Our sorrow feeling,
Send us thy healing,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

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