running up the steps
her cheerful heart sang, “Here I am, Lord.
Your little handmaid.”
Today, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a little girl in the temple.
Mary, the little girl conceived without original sin and soon to be the Theotokos (God-bearer), was already being prepared by God, for that special moment when she would be visited by the Angel Gabriel and invited to be the physical temple in whom God would dwell and to be the Mother of God.
Her parents, Ann and Joachim, offered her to God when she was three years old in fulfillment of a vow that they made to God when Ann was childless.
Elderly and childless, Ann and Joachim implored God for a child, vowing that the child would be consecrated to Him and when Mary was 3 years old, they did just that.
Did Ann and Joachim know, at her birth, that their baby girl, gifted to them from God, was to be blessed among women, and to be the Mother of God and play such a pivotal role in history?
Probably not, but they still chose to raise her in accordance with God’s law and in fulfillment of their vow.
In the temple, she joined the girls who spent their days praying, reading Scripture, and serving the temple priests.
How fitting is it that the baby girl, immaculately conceived to be the living temple of God would prepare her own fiat by becoming intimately familiar with the old temple, sacred Scripture and sacred tradition.
On this memorial of Mary’s presentation, may we also say “Yes” to God and surrender to His Will in everything, all the days of our lives.
As parents, we must realise that our children are gifts to us from God. He entrusts them into our care and on Judgement Day, we would be called to account for how dutifully we protected and raised the children that He gave to us.
Raising our children isn’t just limited to ensuring their material, emotional and psychological needs are met, but we also have the responsibility of nurturing their spiritual growth, for the salvation of their souls.
This entails protecting them from the degeneracy and depravity of modern society and lukewarm Catholicism, modeling to them traditional gender roles within the family, having the mother stay at home to raise the children, encouraging them to fully embrace the gender roles assigned to them by God, raising them to find and fulfill their vocations in life.
Just like Mary’s parents had no idea they were raising the Theotokos, but they fulfilled their vows and duties to God, so too you do not know if you are raising a future saint, a future mystic, a future Pope.
If you have been given the gift of children, you are obliged to fulfill your responsibilities because you would be made accountable to God for your children on Judgement Day.
Do not take this responsibility lightly. Our children and their precious souls belong to God, and they are simply on loan to us during their earthly lives.
Even if you are currently single, but you feel called to marriage, your duty begins now.
As you pray and prepare yourself for a spouse, consecrate yourself and your future children to God. Tell Him how you will raise the children that He blesses you with, to love Him, serve Him and to do His Will.
God will most likely get so excited at your willingness and openness to raise future saints, that He might just speed up the process of you finding your spouse and getting married.
Similarly, spouses battling infertility will do well pray to God, vowing that you will dedicate to Him and His service, the children that He blesses you with. Sometimes, that may be all that is needed for Him to open up the womb.
Souls are so precious to God that He would not give a person a soul that He feels will not be raised and nurtured properly. He will not give parents the gift of children if He is not convinced that the souls of those children will not be condemned to eternal damnation due to the parents not raising them according to Biblical doctrine and Godly standards
Below are some resources to inspire you in this important and honourable duty of parenting.
She the Woman who was Temple of the Living Word made Flesh. Now we are the Temple of God, the body of Christ. 1 Cor. 6:19
My dearest Mother Mary! Your parents dedicated you from the very beginning, before even birth, before even your conception! I dedicate my children, myself, my spouse and our marriage to you!
I implore you to please pour out your graces upon us so that we may live lives of holiness, obedience, submission, and love.
O God, Who didst will that on this day the blessed ever Virgin Mary, the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, should be presented in the temple: grant, we beseech Thee, we may be made worthy to be presented in the temple of Thy glory.