Day Twelve: Jesus Presented at Temple

Katherine Kenny Bayly The Passion of Mary. Collage on Paper, 8 " x 12".

From CIVA Exhibition: Highly Favored: Contemporary Images Of The Virgin Mary

God had allowed Simeon in on his plan and Simeon was waiting.  Not waiting to see it fulfilled, but waiting to see just the inauguration of it.  And when Simeon saw Jesus and his parents in the temple God allowed him to recognize the baby for who he truly was: God’s salvation.  Through the Holy Spirit Simeon was able to bless the young couple and their baby.  But, Simeon’s words were double edged.  They promised the fulfillment of God’s plan and the coming salvation, but they also hinted that it would not be easy for Mary.


We often think that if we are in God’s will and we are a part of his plan, then everything must go smoothly and effortlessly.  In some sense, God’s plan had already been a mixed blessing for Mary.  Circumstances had not been easy and Simeon’s words let her know that that would not change.  There were wondrous events ahead, but many of them would also be painful.


We often pray the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  In some real sense God’s kingdom came to earth, was born in a stable, and walked among us.  If we recognize this, we must also recognize that “God’s kingdom coming” and “His will being done” included the cross.  Jesus who most fully lived out the “kingdom life” suffered greatly.  He sacrificed himself and allowed the earthly powers to crush him so that a bigger victory might be accomplished.  But in today’s society we too quickly go to the victory of the cross and forget the pain, suffering and difficulties that Jesus and Mary endured on the way to that victory.  Like them, as God brings about his kingdom—and eventual victory—in our lives, we too, will have suffering and difficulties.  We will often be called to sacrifice our selves for others.  If we desire to be like Christ we must know that we will also suffer like him.  One early Christian writer put it this way, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.” *


Lord, how can I endure this life of sorrow, unless you strengthen me with your mercy and grace?  Do not turn you face from me.  Do not withdraw your consolation from me, lest my soul becomes like a waterless desert.  Teach me, O Lord, to do your will, and to live humbly.  You alone know me perfectly, seeing into my soul.  You alone can give lasting peace and joy.

—Thomas à Kempis, a 15th century monk *