Sunday, December 27, 2009

Meditation on the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas

"In the fullness of time, God sent His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem from the law those who were subjected to it."

God the Son willed to be born under the law and so he allowed Our Lady and St. Joseph to bring Him into the temple to be presented to the Lord. Every first born child is to be redeemed from the Lord at the price of an offering like, in the case of the poor, a pair of turtle doves.

What people saw was a couple entering the temple to redeem their child at the price of the offering of the poor. All except Simeon and Anna did not realize that Our Lady brought into the Temple the most precious offering this edifice of worship has ever seen: Our Lady brought into the temple the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Three days into Christmas and the shadow of Good Friday is already appearing in the horizon. Simeon recognized this for he spoke of the Child as "a Sign of contradiction" - a sign opposed by many. According to him, a sword of sorrow will pierce Our Lady's soul. While the world is still drunk with the holidays, the Church already sees the shadow of the Cross. She sees our Lady's sword of sorrow from afar. Early on in his incarnated existence, Christ is already living a life of suffering and sacrifice. Simeon did not make it a secret to Our Lady that suffering and holiness go together. At the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel revealed to Mary the blessedness of her election as Mother of God: Hail, full of grace...You shall conceive and bear a Son. At the Visitation the Holy Spirit, through the lips of St. Elizabeth, honored Our Lady's triple blessedness: she is blessed in her election (Blessed are you among women); she is blessed in her Son (Blessed is the fruit of your womb); and she is blessed in her faith (Blessed are you because you believed).
However, Simeon reveals to her the partner of her blessedness - the Cross. Holiness and Suffering go together. If "the Son had to learn obedience through suffering," then anyone who wishes to be holy, Our Lady included, would have to walk the way of the Cross. Our Lady was exempted from sin but not from suffering. "If anyone wishes to be my disciple, he must renounce himself, take up his Cross and follow me." The first who followed the Lord along this terrible way was his own Mother.

Any one who wishes to be perfect in holiness must definitely expect the Cross. To be on the side of Christ is to be on the side of the Cross. A gift to the newly born Savior is our willingness of suffer: That I may suffer everything out of love for you, O Christ! The Cross - there could be no other way of perfection!

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