Modern sermons fail to understand the importance of Mary entering the Temple forty days after the Birth of Christ. With contemporary sensibilities not wishing to confront the fact that the Jewish law demanded women to be purified after childbirth, priests miss the point of the fact that Mary graciously, willingly, humbly, submitted to the Law.

My Jesuit meditation book notes that Mary, Ever-Virgin, Ever-Pure, did not need to go through the Jewish ceremony. I have meditated on the fact that Mary as conceived without Original Sin, she being the Immaculate Conception, was chosen to inaugurate the New Law, the New Covenant. As the Mother of God, Mary needed no rite to purify her. She brought Purity into the Temple just by being there, holding Baby Jesus, the Pure One, in her arms.

So, why did she do this?

To give up her status in the eyes of the world, states my Jesuit mentor, Mary underwent in humility the rites every Jewish woman who had a child endured. Mary did not ask for special recognition. She did not claim her high status of being the Theotokos, which she perfectly knew in her body and in her soul. She was not stupid, or ignorant of her high calling. She did not tell the world of her status as God’s Mother or use that status to gain favor and avoid the Law.

Mary represents for us true poverty of body and spirit. Her poor offering denotes humility, but even more, her poverty of spirit shows us the way to approach God, with no pretensions.

How many people seek status, fame, recognition of ministries in the Church? People want to be noticed and sometimes even balk at being over-looked.

Not Mary….no one noticed her or remarked at her great poverty of spirit in obeying the Law.

I understand in my own state the value, but the pain, of poverty.

But like Mary, who saw the Son of God lying in a manger, as the Jesuit priest points out, I learn how Christ chose poverty as well.

Choosing poverty is sometimes scary. One must totally depend on Christ, and not people. If God leads people to help one, that is a miracle of those good people responding to grace. But, sometimes, there is no one to respond, or those to whom God have given the call to be generous turn their backs on Christ’s call. The call to live on and in Divine Providence is the call of every Catholic.

Thankfully, there are many Catholics who do respond to those in need. Mary was given gold by the Magi, Perhaps her little offering of pigeons came from that gift. Joseph would have used the Magi’s gifts to get established in Egypt. Without those presents, the Holy Family could have starved on the way to Egypt, the place to which they fled after the Purification and Presentation.

Jerusalem, the spiritual capital of the world, did not recognize the Mother of God. Jerusalem did not recognize Christ.

Mary did not complain, but submitted to great humility.

She shows us the way.

This week, a great sinner died. We all know who this person was. He received accolades through-out the world merely because he was famous. Yes, this person denied the Law continually in his life and bragged about this. He saw himself as above the Law.

To the world, he is a symbol of pushing the envelope of laws of all kinds, especially natural law.

None of us are above the Law. We never can ignore the Ten Commandments or the Laws of the Church. Mary was above the Law, and yet, she submitted. It is a sad state of affairs that the world would rather honor those who flaunt even natural law, rather than look at the Woman clothed with the sun, the Most Pure Virgin Mary. Let us honor her today, remembering what the world cannot comprehend, that humility and holiness grow together.

The Litany of Loreto

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

God the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother immaculate,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,

Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,

Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,

Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,

Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,

Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,

Help of Christians,

Queen of angels,
Queen of patriarchs,
Queen of prophets,
Queen of apostles,
Queen of martyrs,
Queen of confessors,
Queen of virgins,
Queen of all saints,

Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy rosary,

Queen of families,
Queen of peace,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech you, O Lord God, that we, your servants, may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body; and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may be delivered from present sorrow, and obtain eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.