Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Novena for the Feast of the Presentation of Mary

Holy Mother Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Mary on November 21. The three feasts,  the Birthday of our Lady (September 8), the Holy Name of Mary (September 12), and the Presentation of Mary (November 21), correspond in the Marian feast day cycle with the similar feasts of Our Lord: Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (February 2).

Tradition holds that Sts. Joachim and Anne, Mary's parents, vowed to consecrate Mary to the service of God at the Temple in thanksgiving for being blessed with a child. Thus when Mary was three years old, they presented her at the Temple to the High Priest. The High Priest receiving the child, kissed and blessed her, recognizing that God had great plans for Mary. Then he placed her on the step once again. Mary did not turn back to her parents or weep for them. Rather she came with joy to the Temple; Sts. Joachim and Anne returned home, praising God for their blessed child, and Mary remained in the Temple until she became betrothed to St. Joseph. During these years she continued to grow in holiness, spending her time reading Scriptures, praying and loving our Lord, and joyfully serving the priests of the Temples.


This feast of Our Lady exemplifies Mary's constant willingness to dedicate her life to God in all things, as she once again illustrated during the Annunciation. The feast of the Presentation of Mary also illuminates Mary as the New Temple and the Ark of the Covenant, in whom our Savior would dwell.  In a homily concerning the Presentation of Mary, St. Germanus exalted the Blessed Mother, saying,
"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor."
On this feast of our Blessed Mother, let us ponder our willingness to serve God in whatever He asks of us, to always respond with a joyful "yes," as did our Lady.  To accomplish this great task, may we look to our Heavenly Queen and Mother, imploring her to pray for us, intercede for us, and lead us along the path God has chosen in order to better love and serve Him.

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The following novena should begin on November 12 to finish on the eve of the feast of the Presentation of Mary, November 20.


Novena for the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

+ Gracious and lovable art thou in thy splendor, O holy Mother of God! Show me thy countenance. Let thy words sound in my ears, for thy voice is sweet and thy countenance is beautiful. Turn to us in thy beauty and loveliness! Come forth in majesty and reign!  Hail Mary…

+ O blessed Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, Temple of the Lord, sanctuary of the Holy Ghost, thou alone, without an equal, hast pleased our Lord Jesus Christ!  Hail Mary…

+ Blessed indeed art thou, O holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, for from thee arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our Lord. Draw us, O Immaculate Virgin; we shall come after thee, breathing the sweet fragrance of thy virtues!  Hail Mary…
[Here state your petition.]

+ Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother! To thee to 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.


St. Bernard so beautifully spoke of our Lady, saying, "De Maria numquam satis." (“Concerning Mary, never enough.”) With these words in mind, may we continually strive to honor and love Our Lady, singing her praises, praying her Rosary, wearing her scapular, and thanking her for all she has done and continually does for us.

God bless!
+JMJ+

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