Saturday, February 2, 2008

Feast of the Presentation

Today, forty days after Christmas, the Church celebrates the feast of Jesus' presentation in the Temple. February 2 is also the day the Church chooses to commemorate (non-liturgically) the gift of the consecrated life.

I have always assumed that this feast was selected as an appropriate occasion for the "World Day of Consecrated Life" because this was the day when Jesus was presented, i.e. "consecrated" to God in the Temple.

Of course, Jesus' life was the most "consecrated" of anyone who ever walked the earth, and all consecrated people strive to live as He did. (Although He was not presented in the Temple to be ritually set apart from other children. Rather, in presenting Him, His parents were fulfilling the Jewish law and custom described in Exodus 13:1-3a, 11-16.)

But as I reflect, it would seem that the lives of modern consecrated people also find a parallel in the figures of Simeon and Anna. Like Anna, who spent most of her time in the Temple, consecrated people spend their lives occupied with the things of God. And like Simeon, their life is completed only by seeing Christ.

This feast can serve to remind us that the pure in heart will see God. I hope and pray that a life spent eagerly waiting for His coming will serve as my own purifying "refiner's fire," so that I too may have this as my reward.

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