Of the Presentation of Mary
(Feast Day - 21 November)

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The Presentation of Mary, in the Temple - by Cima da Conegliano - from Dresden Gallery, Dresden, Germany

Without Turning-back, she 'Ascended' the Fifteen (15) Steps-of the Temple, and Presented herself to the Priest, Saint Zachary.

According to the Protoevangel-of-James, the Gospel-of-Pseudo-Matthew, the Gospel-of-the-Nativity-of-Mary, and other Apocryphal Writings, Mary's Parents, Anna and Joachim, were not Blessed-with Child for Twenty (20) Years, and when at-last, their Daughter Miriam or Mary was born, they were so Grateful-to the Lord, that they gave her into the Care-of the Temple, and she became a Virgin-of the Temple. These Maidens were Educated and received Moral Instruction from the Priests, an arrangement which to some-extent, Foreshadowed the Orders-of-Nuns, in the Middle Ages.

The Feast-of the Presentation-of-Mary in the Temple, stresses an Important Truth about Mary: From the Beginning of her Life, she was Dedicated-to God. She herself, became a Greater Temple, than any made by-Hands. God came to-Dwell in her, in a Marvelous Manner, and Sanctified her for her Unique Role in God's Saving Work. At the same-Time, the Magnificence-of Mary, Enriches her children. They, too, are Temples-of-God, and Sanctified in-order-that they might Enjoy and Share-in God's Saving Work.

"Hail, Holy Throne-of-God; Divine Sanctuary; House-of Glory; Jewel most-Fair; Chosen Treasure House; Mercy Seat for the Whole World; 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"

 

The Offering that Mary made of herself to-God
was 'Prompt' without-Delay, and 'Entire' without-Reserve.

 

Of the Presentation of Mary

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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There never-Was, and never-Will be, an Offering on the Part-of a Pure Creature, Greater or more-Perfect than that which Mary made-to God, when, at the Age-of Three (3) Years, she 'Presented' herself in the Temple, to-Offer Him, not Aromatical Spices, nor Calves, nor Gold, but her Entire-self; Consecrating herself as a Perpetual Victim, in His Honor. She well-Understood the Voice-of God, 'Calling' her to-'Devote' herself entirely-to His Love, when He said, "Arise, make Haste, My Love, My Dove, My Beautiful One, and Come!" (Song-of-Songs 2:10). Therefore, her Lord Willed that-from that Time she should Forget her Country, and 'All', to-think only-of Loving and Pleasing Him: "Hearken, O Daughter, and See, and Incline thine Ear; and Forget thy People, and thy Father's House" (Psalm 45:10-11). She, with-Promptitude and at-Once, 'Obeyed' the Divine Call. Let us, then, consider how-Acceptable, was this Offering, which Mary made-of herself to-God; for it was 'Prompt' and 'Entire'. Hence the Two (2) Points for our Consideration are, First (1st), Mary's Offering was 'Prompt', and without-Delay; Secondly (2nd), it was 'Entire', and without-Reserve.

First (1st) Point Mary's Offering was Prompt. From the First (1st) Moment that this Heavenly Child was Sanctified in her Mother's Womb, which was in the Instant-of her Immaculate Conception, she Received the Perfect use-of Reason, that she might begin-to Merit. This is in-accordance-with the General Opinion-of Theologians, and with that-of Father Suarez in-particular, who says, that as the most-Perfect Way in-which God Sanctifies a Soul, is by its own Merit, as Saint Thomas also 'Teaches'; it is thus we must-Believe that the Blessed Virgin was Sanctified: "To be Sanctified by one's Own Act, is the more Perfect Way. Therefore it is to be Believed, that the Blessed Virgin was thus Sanctified". And if this Privilege, was Granted-to the Angels, and to-Adam as the Angelic Doctor says, much-more ought we to-Believe, that it was Granted-to the Divine Mother, on whom, certainly we must Suppose-that God, having 'Condescended'-to make her His Mother, also 'Conferred' Greater Gifts, than-on All-other-Creatures. "From her", says the same Holy Doctor, "He received His Human Nature, and therefore, she must have Obtained a Greater Plenitude-of-Grace, from Christ, than all others". "For being a Mother", Father Suarez says, "she has a sort-of Special Right, to All the Gifts-of her Son"; and as, on-account-of the Hypostatic Union, it was Right that Jesus should 'Receive' the Plenitude-of all Graces, so, on-account-of the Divine Maternity, it was 'Becoming', that Jesus should 'Confer', as a Natural Debt, Greater Graces on-Mary, than He 'Granted'-to All-other Saints and Angels.

Thus, from the Beginning-of her Life, Mary 'Knew' God, and 'Knew' Him so that "No tongue" (as the Angel declared-to Saint Bridget) "will ever Express how-Clearly this Blessed Virgin, Understood His Greatness, in that very First Moment of her Existence". And thus Enlightened, she Instantly 'Offered' her entire-Self to her Lord, 'Dedicating' herself, without-Reserve, to His Love and Glory. "Immediately", the Angel went-on to-say, "Our Queen determined to-Sacrifice her Will to-God, and to-Give Him all her Love, for the Whole-of her Life. No one can Understand how 'Entire' was the Subjection, in-which she then Placed her Will, and how-Fully she was Determined-to do All, according-to His Pleasure".

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Education of the Virgin - by TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista -
from S. Maria della Consolazione (Fava), Venice

 

But the Immaculate Child, afterwards Understanding-that her Holy Parents, Joachim and Anne, had 'Promised' God, even by-Vow, as many-Authors 'Relate', that if He 'Granted' them Issue, they would Consecrate it to His Service, in the Temple; as it was, moreover, an Ancient Custom amongst the Jews, to-take their Daughters to the Temple, and there to-Leave them for their Education (for which purpose there were Cells, contiguous), as it is recorded-by Baronius, Nicephorus, Cedrenus, and Suarez, with Josephus, the Jewish Historian, and also on the Authority-of Saint-John-Damascen, Saint-George-of-Nicomedia, Saint Anselm, and Saint Ambrose, and, as we may easily gather-from the Second-Book-of-Machabees, where, speaking-of Heliodorus, who 'Besieged' the Temple, that he might Gain Possession-of the Treasure there-Deposited, says, "Because the place was like to-Come into Contempt ... and the Virgins also that were shut-up, Came-forth, some-to Onias". Mary, hearing this, I say, having scarcely attained the Age-of Three (3) Years, as Saint Germanus and Saint Epiphanius 'Attest' the Latter of-whom says, "In her Third Year, she was brought-to the Temple" an Age at which Children are the most-Desirous, and Stand-in the Greatest Need-of their Parents' Care, she Desired-to 'Offer' and Solemnly Consecrate herself to-God, by 'Presenting' herself in the Temple. Hence, of her own Accord, she 'Requested' her Parents, with-Earnestness, to-Take her there, that they might thus 'Accomplish' their Promise. And the Holy Mother, says Saint-Gregory-of-Nyssa, "did not delay Leading her to the Temple, and Offering her to God".

Behold now, Joachim and Anne, Generously Sacrificing to-God, the most Precious Treasure that they Possessed in the World, and the One Who was Dearest-to their Hearts, setting-out from Nazareth, carrying their well-Beloved Little Daughter in-turns, for she could not otherwise have-Undertaken so-long a Journey, as that from Nazareth-to-Jerusalem, it being a Distance-of Eighty (80) Miles, as several-Authors 'Say' [Refer to Roads & Caravan Routes of Ancient Palestine]. They were Accompanied-by few Relatives, but Choirs-of-Angels, according to Saint-George-of-Nimoedia, 'Escorted' and 'Served' the Immaculate little Virgin, who was about-to Consecrate herself to the Divine Majesty. "How Beautiful are thy steps, O Prince's Daughter!" O, how Beautiful (must the Angels have Sung), how Acceptable-to God is thy every-Step, taken-on thy Way, to 'Present' and 'Offer' thyself to Him! O Noble Daughter, most-Beloved of our Common Lord! "God Himself, with the Whole Heavenly Court", says Bernardine-de-Bustis, "made Great Rejoicings on that day, Beholding His Spouse, coming-to the Temple". "For He never saw a more Holy Creature, or one whom He so Tenderly Loved, come-to Offer herself to-Him". "Go then" (says Saint Germanus, Archbishop-of-Constantinople), "go, O Queen-of the World, O Mother-of God, go Joyfully to the House-of God, there to-Await the coming-of the Divine Spirit, Who will make thee the Mother-of the Eternal Word". "Enter with Exultation, the Courts-of the Lord, in Expectation-of the Coming-of the Holy Ghost, and the Conception-of the only-Begotten, Son-of-God".

When the Holy Company had-Reached the Temple, the Fair Child turned-to her Parents, and on her Knees 'Kissed' their hands, and 'Asked' their Blessing; and then, without again Turning-back, she 'Ascended' the Fifteen (15) Steps-of the Temple (according to Arius Montano, quoting Josephus), and as we are told by Saint-Germanus, Presented herself to the Priest, Saint Zachary. Having done this, she Bade Farewell-to the World, and 'Renouncing' all the Pleasures which it Promises-to its Votaries, she 'Offered' and ' Consecrated' herself to her Creator.

At the Time-of the Deluge, a Raven Sent-out-of the Ark by Noah, remained to Feed-on the Dead Bodies; but the Dove, without-Resting her foot, Quickly "returned to him into the Ark" (Genesis 8:9). Many who are Sent-by God into this World, Unfortunately Remain-to Feed-on Earthly Goods. It was not thus that Mary, our Heavenly Dove, 'Acted'; she 'Knew' full-well that God should be our only Good, our only Hope, our only Love; she 'Knew' that the World is full-of Dangers, and that he who Leaves it the Soonest, is Freest-from its Snares: hence, she sought-to do this in her Tenderest Years, and as-soon-as possible, shut herself up in the Sacred Retirement-of the Temple, where she could better-Hear His Voice, and Honor and Love Him more. Thus did the Blessed Virgin, in her very First (1st) Actions, 'Render' herself entirely Dear and Agreeable to her Lord, as the Holy Church says in her Name: "Rejoice with me, all ye who Love God; for when I was a Little One, I Pleased the Most High". For this Reason, she was likened-to the Moon; for as the Moon completes her Course, with greater-Velocity than the other Planets, so did Mary 'Attain' Perfection, sooner-than all the Saints, by-Giving herself to God Promptly and without-Delay, and making herself all His, without Reserve. Let us now Pass-to the Second (2nd) Point, on which we shall have much to-Say.

 

bvm00035.jpg (83819 bytes) Second (2nd) Point The Enlightened Child, well-'Knew' that God does not 'Accept' a Divided- Heart, but Wills that, as He has Commanded, it should be Consecrated-to His Love, without the least-Reserve: "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God, with thy Whole Heart" (Deuteronomy 6:5). Hence from the First (1st) Moment-of her Life, she began-to Love God, with all her Strength, and Gave herself entirely-to Him. But still, her most Holy Soul, awaited-with the most-Ardent Desire, the Moment when she might Consecrate herself to-Him, in a more 'Solemn' and 'Public' Way. Let us, then, consider with-what Fervor, this Loving and Tender Virgin, on finding herself actually Enclosed-in the Holy Place, First (1st) Prostrate, Kissed that Ground as the House-of her Lord: and then 'Adored' His Infinite Majesty, Thanked Him for the Favor she had Received, in-being thus Brought-to Dwell, for a-Time, in HisHouse, and then Offered her entire-self to her God, Wholly, without-Reserving anything all her Powers and all her Senses, her Whole Mind and her Whole Heart, her Whole Soul and her Whole Body; for then it was, according to many-Authors, that to-Please God "she Vowed Him her Virginity", a Vow which, according-to the Abbot Rupert, "Mary was the First to make". And the Offering she then made-of her entire-self, was without any Reserve as to Time, as Bernardine-of-Bustis declares: "Mary Offered and Dedicated herself to the Perpetual Service of God"; for her Intention was to-Dedicate herself to the Service-of His Divine Majesty in the Temple, for her Whole Life, should such be the Good Pleasure of God; and never to-Leave that Sacred Place. O, with what Effusion-of Soul, must she then have 'Exclaimed', "My Beloved to me, and I to Him!" (Song-of-Songs 2:16). Cardinal Hugo, 'Paraphrases' these words, saying, "I will Live all His, and Die all His". "My Lord and my God," she said, "I am come here to Please Thee alone, and to give Thee all the Honor that is in my Power; here will I Live all Thine, and Die all Thine, should such be Thy Pleasure; accept the Sacrifice which Thy Poor Servant offers Thee, and enable me to be Faithful to Thee".

mary_dove.gif (12656 bytes) Here let us consider how Holy was the Life which Mary led in the Temple, where, as "the Morning Rising" (Song-of-Songs 6:10), which Rapidly Bursts-out into the full-Brightness of mid-Day, she 'Progressed'-in Perfection. Who can ever tell the always-increasing Brightness, with-which her Resplendent Virtues Shone-forth from day-to-day: Charity, Modesty, Humility, Silence, Mortification, Meekness. This Fair Olive-Tree, says Saint-John-Damascen, Planted-in the House-of God, and Nurtured-by the Holy Ghost, became the Dwelling-place of all Virtues; "Led-to the Temple, and thenceforward Planted-in the House-of-God, and Cultivated-by the Spirit, she, as a Fruitful Olive-Tree, became the Abode-of all Virtues". The same Spirit says elsewhere, "that the Countenance-of the Blessed Virgin was Modest, her Mind Humble, her Words, Proceeding-from a Composed Interior, were Engaging". In another-Place, he Asserts-that she Turned her Thoughts, far-from Earthly Things, Embracing all Virtues; and thus Exercising herself in Perfection, she made such Rapid Progress in a Short Time, that she Merited to-become a Temple, Worthy-of God.

Saint Anselm also Speaks-of the Life-of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple, and says that "Mary was Docile, Spoke little, was always Composed, did not Laugh, and that her Mind was never Disturbed. She also 'Persevered'-in Prayer, in the Study-of the Sacred Scriptures, in Fastings, and all Virtuous Works". Saint Jerome enters more into-Detail. He says that Mary, thus Regulated-in her Life: In the Morning, until the Third (3rd) Hour, she remained-in Prayer; from the Third (3rd) Hour, until the Ninth (9th), she employed herself with-Work; and from the Ninth (9th) Hour, she again Prayed until the Angel brought her her Food, as he was wont to-do. She was always the First (1st) in-Watchings, the most-Exact in the Observance-of the Divine Law, the most-Profoundly Humble, and the most Perfect in every Virtue. No one ever saw her Angry: her every Word, carried-such Sweetness with it, that it was a Witness-to all, that God was with her.

We read-in Saint Bonaventure's Life-of-Christ that the Divine Mother herself, Revealed-to Saint-Elizabeth-of-Hungary, that "when her Father and Mother left her in the Temple, she determined-to have God alone, for her Father, and often thought how she could Please Him most". Moreover, as we learn-from the Revelations-of-Saint-Bridget, "she determined-to Consecrate her Virginity to Him, and to Possess nothing-in the World, and to-give Him her entire-Will". Besides this, she told Saint Elizabeth that of all the Commandments to be 'Observed', she especially kept this one before her eyes: "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God"; and that at-Midnight, she went-before the Altar-of the Temple, to-beg that He would 'Grant' her the Grace, to-Observe them all, and also that she might Live to-see the Birth-of the Mother of the Redeemer, 'Entreating' Him at the same-Time, to-Preserve her Eyes to-Behold her, her Tongue to-Praise her, her Hands and Feet to-Serve her, and her Knees to-Adore her Divine Son, in her Womb. Saint Elizabeth, on-Hearing this, said, "But Lady, wast thou not Full-of Grace and Virtue"? Mary replied, "Know that I Considered myself most-Vile and Unworthy-of Divine Grace, and therefore thus Earnestly, Prayed-for Grace and Virtue". And finally, that we might be Convinced-of the Absolute Necessity under which we All are, of-Asking the Graces that we Require-from God, she added: "Dost thou think that I possessed Grace and Virtue without Effort? Know that I Obtained no Grace from God, without great-Effort, constant-Prayer, ardent-Desire, and many Tears and Mortifications".

bvm00199.jpg (10463 bytes) But above all, we should consider the Revelation made-to Saint Bridget, of the Virtues and Practices-of the Blessed Virgin in her Childhood, in the following Words: "From her Childhood, Mary was full-of the Holy Ghost, and as she advanced-in Age, she advanced also, in-Grace. Thenceforward she determined-to Love God with her Whole Heart, so that she might never Offend Him, either by her Words or Actions; and therefore she Despised all Earthly Goods. She gave all that she could to the Poor. In her Food, she was so-Temperate, that she only took as much as was barely Necessary to-Sustain her Body. Afterwards, on Discovering-in the Sacred Scriptures, that God was to be Born-of a Virgin, that He might Redeem the World, her Soul was to such a degree, Inflamed-with Divine Love, that she could Desire and Think-of nothing but God; and finding Pleasure in Him alone, she avoided all-Company, even that-of her Parents, lest their Presence might Deprive her of His Remembrance. She desired, with the greatest Ardor, to-Live until the Time-of the Coming-of the Messiah, that she might be the Servant-of that Happy Virgin, who Merited to be His Mother". Thus far, the Revelations-of-Saint-Bridget.

Jesus, Incarnate of Mary
Mary, Mother of God
Mary, Chosen Mother of the Eternal Word
Mary, Living Temple of the Holy Ghost
Mary, Tabernacle of God
Mary, Delight of her Lord
Mary, Consummate in Perfection
Mary, Virgin most-Holy and most-Perfect
Mary, God's Garden-of-Delights
Mary, Seeker of Redemption for All
Mary, Mother of Salvation
 

"Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
the Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou amongst women,
Blessed is the Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus"
(Luke Chapter 1)

 

Ah, yes, for the Love-of this Exalted Child, the Redeemer did indeed 'Hasten' His Coming-into the World; for whilst she, in her Humility, looked-upon herself as Unworthy to be the Servant-of the Divine Mother, she was herself 'Chosen' to be this Mother; and by the Sweet Odor-of her Virtues, and her Powerful Prayers, she 'Drew' the Divine Son into her Virginal Womb. For this Reason, Mary was called a Turtle-Dove by her Divine Spouse: "The Voice-of the Turtle, is Heard-in our Land" (Song-of-Songs 2:12). Not only because as a Turtle-Dove, she always Loved Solitude, Living-in this World, as in a Desert, but also because, like a Turtle-Dove, which always Sighs-for its Companions, Mary always Sighed-in the Temple, 'Compassionating' the Miseries-of the Lost World, and 'Seeking'-from God, the Redemption-of All. O, with how much greater Feeling and Fervor than the Prophets, did she Repeat their Prayers and Sighs, that God would send the Promised Redeemer! "Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the Ruler-of the Earth" (Isaiah 16:1). "Drop-down Dew, ye Heavens, from above, and let the Clouds, Rain the Just!" (Isaiah 45:8)

In a word, it was a Subject-of-Delight to-God, to-Behold this Tender Virgin, always Ascending-towards the Highest Perfection, like a Pillar-of-Smoke, Rich in the Sweet Odor-of all the Virtues, as the Holy Ghost Himself clearly-Describes her in the Sacred Canticles: "Who is she that goeth up by the Desert as a Pillar of Smoke, of Aromatical Spices, of Myrrh and Frankincense, and of all the Powders-of the Perfumer?" (Song-of-Solomon 3:6). "This Child", says Saint-Sophronuius, "was Truly God's Garden-of-Delights; for He there found every Kind-of-Flower, and all the Sweet Odors-of-Virtues". Hence Saint-John-Chrysostom 'Affirms', that God 'Chose' Mary for His Mother in this World, because He did not find on-Earth, a Virgin more-Holy and more-Perfect than she was, nor any Dwelling more-Worthy than her most-Sacred Womb. Saint Bernard also says, "that there was not on-Earth, a more Worthy Place, than the Virginal Womb". This also agrees with the Assertion-of Saint Antoninus, that the Blessed Virgin, to be Chosen-for, and Destined-to the Dignity-of the Mother-of-God, was Necessarily so-Great and Consummate-in Perfection, as to-Surpass all other Creatures: "The last Grace-of-Perfection is that which Prepared her for the Conception-of the Son-of-God".

As, then, the Holy Child, Mary, 'Presented' and 'Offered' herself to-God in the Temple, with-Promptitude, and without-Reserve, so let us also 'Present' ourselves, this Day, to-Mary, without-Delay and without-Reserve; and let us 'Entreat' her to-Offer us to-God, Who will not Reject us when He sees us Presented-by the Hand-of that Blessed Creature, who was the Living Temple-of the Holy Ghost, the Delight-of her Lord, and the Chosen Mother-of the Eternal Word. Let us also have Unbounded Confidence-in this High and Gracious Lady, who Rewards, indeed, with the Greatest Love, the Homage that she Receives-from her Clients, as we may Gather-from the following-Example.

 

 

Example

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We read in the Life-of-Sister-Domenica-del-Paradiso, written by the Dominican-Father-Ignatius-del-Niente, that she was Born-of Poor Parents, in the Village-of Paradiso, near Florence. From her very Infancy, she began to-Serve the Divine Mother. She Fasted every day, in her Honor, and on Saturdays, gave her food, of which she Deprived herself, to the Poor. Every Saturday, she went into the Garden and into the Neighboring Fields, and Gathered all the Flowers that she could find, and Presented them before an Image-of the Blessed Virgin, with the Child in her arms, which she kept in the House. But let us now see with how many Favors, this most Gracious Lady, 'Recompensed' the Homage-of her Servant. One day, when Domenica was Ten (10) Years of Age, standing at the window, she saw in the Street, a Lady-of Noble Mien, accompanied by a Little Child, and they both Extended their Hands, asking-for Alms. She went to get some Bread, when in a Moment, without the Door being-Opened, she saw them by her side, and Perceived that the Child's Hands and Feet and Side were Wounded. She therefore asked the Lady, who had Wounded the Child. The Mother answered, "It was Love". Domenica, Inflamed-with Love, at the Sight-of the Beauty and Modesty of the Child, asked him if the Wounds Pained him? His only Answer was a Smile. But, as they were standing near the Statue-of Jesus and Mary, the Lady said to Domenica: "Tell me, my child, what is it that makes thee Crown these Images with Flowers"? She replied, "It is the Love that I bear to Jesus and Mary". "And how much dost thou Love them"? "I Love them as much as I can". "And how much canst thou Love them"? "As much as they enable me". "Continue, then", added the Lady, "continue to Love them; for they will Amply Repay thy Love in Heaven".

The Little Girl, then Perceiving that a Heavenly Odor, came-forth-from those Wounds, asked the Mother with-what Ointment she Anointed them, and if it could be Bought. The Lady answered, "It is Bought-with Faith and Good Works". Domenica then 'Offered' the Bread. The Mother said, "Love is the Food of my Son; tell Him that thou Lovest Jesus, and He will be Satisfied". The Child, at the word Love, seemed filled-with Joy, and turning-towards the little girl, asked her how much she Loved Jesus. She answered that she Loved Him so-much, that Night and Day she always Thought-of Him, and sought for nothing-else, but to Give Him as much Pleasure, as she possibly could. "It is well", he replied; "Love Him, for Love will teach thee what to do, to Please Him". The Sweet Odor, which Exhaled-from those Wounds, then Increasing, Domenica cried out, "O God! This Odor makes me Die of Love". If the Odor-of a Child is so-sweet, what must that of Heaven be? But Behold, the Scene now 'Changed'; the Mother appeared Clothed-as a Queen, and the Child resplendent-with Beauty, like the Sun. He took the Flowers and scattered them on the Head-of Domenica, who, recognizing Jesus and Mary in those Personages, was already Prostrate, Adoring them. Thus the Vision ended. Domenica afterwards took the Habit-of a Domicaness, and Died in the Odor-of-Sanctity, in the Year 1553.

 

- End of Liguori Discourse -

 

Prayer

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O Beloved Mother-of-God, most Amiable-Child, Mary, O that, as thou didst Present thyself in the Temple, and with Promptitude and without-Reserve, didst Consecrate thyself to the Glory and Love of God, I could Offer thee, this Day, the First Years of my Life, to-Devote myself without-Reserve to thy Service, my Holy and most Sweet Lady!

But it is now too-Late to do this; for, Unfortunate Creature that I am, I have Lost so many Years, in the Service-of the World and my own Caprices, and have Lived-in almost entire Forgetfulness of-thee and of-God: "Woe to that Time, in which I did not Love thee!"

But it is better to begin-Late, than not at-all. Behold, O Mary, I, this day Present myself to thee, and I Offer myself without-Reserve to thy Service, for the Long or Short Time that I still have to-Live in this World; and in Union-with thee, I Renounce all Creatures, and Devote myself entirely-to the Love-of my Creator.

I Consecrate my Mind to thee, O Queen, that it may always Think-of the Love that thou deservest, my Tongue to-Praise thee, my Heart to-Love thee. Do thou Accept, O most Holy Virgin, the Offering which this Miserable Sinner now makes thee: Accept it, I Beseech thee, by the Consolation that thy Heart experienced, when thou gavest thyself to God, in the Temple.

But since I enter thy Service late, it is Reasonable that I should Redouble my Acts of Homage and Love, thereby to Compensate for Lost Time. Do thou Help my Weakness, with thy Powerful Intercession, O Mother-of-Mercy, by obtaining me Perseverance from thy Jesus, and Strength to be always Faithful-to thee until Death; that thus always Serving thee in Life, I may Praise thee in Paradise, for all Eternity.

Amen.