Entry of Virgin Mary into the Temple
Growing up in the Temple
Mary was in constant prayer while she was in the temple. From morning until 9:00am she remained in prayer. From 9 - 3:00pm she was occupied with weaving that she had learned to do. From 3:00pm she again applied herself to prayer. She would receive food from an angel about 3:00pm. Receiving mystical food from the angels she was brought to maturity and made purer than the angels having heavenly spirits as servants. She also received food from the priests but his was distributed to the poor. she would converse daily with the angels. Through this time she was perfected to do the work of God. From the very beginning of her life she was chosen among the chosen. She exemplifies the importance of interior life of prayer in our spiritual growth. As it is recorded in the Gospel of Luke:
My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, hence-forth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. (Luke 1:47-50)
When Mary was thirteen years of age it was no longer the custom for a woman to reside in the temple. When women reached puberty and began menstruating, they had to depart from the temple in order not to defile it because menstruation was considered unclean. It was now the time a young woman was to be married. Often young ladies were brought to the temple to live being dedicated to God. They received education in the doctrines, commandments and sacred rites. At this age of maturity they were instructed by the priest to leave and to find husbands. All the virgins did so except for Mary who vowed her virginity. she said, “It cannot be that I should know a man or that a man should know me.” She argued that her parents had devoted her to the service of God and she had also vowed never to lie with a man. Now her parents had dies about three years earlier. The Priest kept telling her that “God is worshipped in children and adored in posterity, as has always been the custom…” Mary did not waver saying, “God is worshipped in chastity as can be seen fro the beginning, that is, before Abel there was none righteous among men. By his offerings he pleased God but was mercilessly slain by him who displeased God. therefore, Abel received two crows, that of oblation and of virginity. Also, Elias, when her was in the flesh was taken up in the flesh, having kept his flesh unsullied. Now I, from my infancy, in this temple, have learned that virginity can be sufficiently dear to God. Wherefore, because I can offer what is dear to God, I have resolved in my heart not t o know a man.” she did not believe that marriage was her end and not essential for her wholeness as a person.
This great feast shows us that Mary, who was chosen to be the Mother of God, who entered in to the Holy of Holies, is the “most blessed among women.” she is truly “more honorable than he cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim” as the hymn of our Church proclaims. She shows us the path we all must take to become perfect in the eyes of God. It makes us think about our responsibilities to prepare our won children and the example we need to set for them.
Let us pray to the Lord and the Mother of God that we may be granted the grace of understanding that we and our children have a true life, helping us to keep always in our awareness that this feast which the Church celebrates is the entry of the holy 3-year-old maiden into the Holy of Holies and Her sanctification by the grace of God for Her future encompassing of God the Word.
The hymns of this feast proclaim the exalted place which the Entry has in the history of Salvation. The Entry marks the closing of the Old Covenant, whereas the Annunciation marks the beginning of the New. With the Entry the most Holy Virgin is passing from the Old Covenant to the New, and this transition in the person of the Mother of God shows us how the New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Old.