Quite honestly, I cannot image leaving any of my children as depicted above. According to our tradition, Mary was left at the temple at the age of 5 or 6 (5 or 6!!). How can that be a good thing?
Leaving aside the cultural norms, religious expectations, the promise made by Anne and Joachim in thanksgiving for answered prayers – she was 5 or 6! Wow!
Art historians take notice of the look over her shoulder as a symbol of her leaving behind her former way of life and walking towards her future as the eventual Mother of God. Mary walked up the stairs without assistance, her hands pressed in prayer ready to prepare herself for her eventual Fiat.
But, it did happen and because of her strength and the strength of her parents, I am saved.
I know a bit of how this might have felt or happened as several of my children pursued and discerned possible religious vocations and were gone from my house for a few years. But they all have returned home as God called them to another life, a more ‘normal’ life as it were. As a result, I see them regularly.
What about Mary? Did Anne and Joachim see Mary at all as she grew up? Did a life in the temple mean a life in a cloister as it were?
And, today, now in 2017 what can Mary’s Presentation at the Temple mean for us?
Today, I am thinking about this from two different points of view:
1st things 1st – I am praying about what I should be leaving at the temple. Just as I am attached to my children – appropriate – I know I am overly attached to a few worldly things – inappropriate. What should I be leaving at the temple so I can focus on what God wants me to?
2nd things 2nd – I am putting myself in Mary’s shoes (which are way too big to fill) and walking myself to the temple hoping to offer myself to God for His service as best as I can – as a wife, mother, homeschooling, despite my MS or because of it. What will God do with me if I were to leave myself at the temple?
No answers yet; just the wondering. Either way, asking God and wanting God to take over more parts of your life, help you leave others behind is always a good thing. Always.
Walking away from Him or ignoring Him as He passes by – that’s never a good thing.