Jesus was approaching the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, snuggled in the arms of either His mother Mary or His step-father Joseph, and the Holy Spirit was waiting, filling Simeon who had also come to the Temple that day.
A not quite two-month old Jesus was presented as the law commanded (Leviticus 12:2-4), and the joy of the Father and the Spirit could hardly be contained. Simeon spilled out their love through a prophetic prayer:
Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.
I was thinking about this as I prayed the rosary on Monday. The rosary is a prayer of limitless depth. I finished my consecration to Jesus through Mary by way of the Saint Louis de Montfort method and a consecration to Mary’s Brown Scapular in 2012, promising to give Holy Mother what she asked for at Fatima- at least one daily rosary for her intentions.
But giving her a prayer for her intentions has given me so much. At her hands, I have been given such rich instruction by way of the daily mysteries. Have you found this too? The mysteries never grow old. Sometimes I meditate on things I’ve considered before or sometimes the Lord leads me to something I’ve never thought of, but it’s always new. God is never boring.
In the fourth Joyful mystery, Mary or Joseph hands over the offering of two turtledoves, the prescribed substitution for those who were too poor to afford the regular offering of a lamb (Leviticus 12:8). And Simeon spoke over this otherwise unassuming poor child some of the most powerful words anyone could say about a person:
Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel. Luke 2:34
Why was it necessary for God to speak through Simeon these words over Jesus? Jesus already knew His mission. Mary and Joseph knew some things from their interactions with the angels (Luke 1:26-35, Matthew 1:22-24). But God made the point of sharing this blessing over Jesus, affirming Mary and Joseph and then spreading the news through Simeon, the prophetess Anna and “all who were awaiting the redemption of Israel (Luke 2: 48).”
I considered this during a few of the Hail Marys in my decade and then came to another thought in the subsequent ones: What did the Lord say when I was presented?
My parents didn’t fly me to Jerusalem after I was born. And the Temple was destroyed anyway. But I know they took me to Mass. I was baptized at the age of two months. I was presented in the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. Later, my dad walked me down the aisle to my now husband for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. What did the Holy Spirit say in those cases?
When I was baptized the water came over me and the Spirit said, “This is beloved child in whom I am well-pleased. This child is destined for…”
Well, this is sort of a sad place to stop because I haven’t heard the answer yet. But I know there is an answer. The Lord made each of us intentionally. Saint John Paul II says each child is a unique and unrepeatable gift of God. If we are unrepeatable, He must have put a lot of thought into each one of us, our looks, our gifts and our purposes.
I wonder what He said when my husband came up from the waters of baptism as an adult convert in 2005. What did He say when my children were baptized? I brought all three of them to church on those occasions (I’m happy to say I had a direct influence on at least three people’s faith lives), and I know the Lord was already there waiting, just as the Holy Spirit waited in the person of Simeon for Jesus.
What did he say about you as you were presented for baptism, for Holy Communion, for Confirmation, for Holy Matrimony, for Holy Orders? “This beloved and beautiful child is destined for…”
It’s a beautiful thing to think about God’s love for us, His masterpieces. And I’m grateful to Mary for leading me into that thought by the way of her Holy Rosary. I hope you hear what the Lord said to you on those days. I hope you hear of His intentionality, His blessing, His great joy.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. 1 John 3:1