Meditation on the Presentation

Richard Salbato

Before Each Hail Mary

1.  After the kings left Bethlehem, an Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee into Egypt because Herod was seeking the child to destroy it. But it was nearing the 40th day and according to the Jewish law of purification on the 40th day they had to offer the first born child to the temple and offer sacrifice.  So Joseph and Mary secretly took Jesus to Jerusalem by back roads and entered the gates of the Temple. 

2. At the gate there was a very old man named Simeon, and this man was told by God that he would not see death until after he saw the promised Christ of the Lord. 

When Simeon spotted the child, he knew through the Holy Spirit that this was the Messiah.  He ran up and took the Child in his arms and said: 

“Now you can dismiss your servant, O Lord, according to your word in peace, because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

3.  Holding the Child high above his head and looking up to Heaven, Simeon said:

“Through Him, with Him and in Him, all glory and honor are yours almighty God forever and ever.”

4.  Handing the Child back to Mary, Simeon addressed Her:

“Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted.  And your own soul a sword will pierce that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”

5.  Also there was Anne,  the prophetess, who had taught Mary in the Temple, and she also prophesied and pointed out that this child was the Messiah to all that would listen to her.

6.  Now it was even harder to keep a low profile, so Joseph and Mary went quickly out of the Temple, stopped shortly in Nazareth for supplies and to visit Her mother and father.  They left for Egypt though the desert and away from all roads. 

7.  Joseph took a young boy with them to help with the live animals: a lamb, calf, kid and two donkeys. Joseph had only a small sword to protect them in the wild desert mountains.  But the child protected them from the wild animals so that the prophesy of Isaiah 11:6-8 might be fulfilled.  The young boy returned to Nazareth and the holy family stayed in Egypt until Herod died 10 years later. 

8.  They returned to their house in Nazareth and went down to Jerusalem every year on the feast days. It was during this time that Mary realized that Her Son would someday die on a cross for our salvation.  She learned this from the prophesies of Isaiah and revelations of the Angels, explaining the meaning of Simeon’s prophesy to her. 

9.  This is why Luke painted “Our Lady of Perpetual Help”.  It was Luke’s way of explaining that both Christ and Mary knew what the future would bring even at a young age.  Christ’s divinity always knew but it frightened His humanity. In this paining Luke shows the child, Jesus, running into His Mother's arms because of seeing the instruments of His future suffering.  It shows that Mary also saw the Angels holding these instruments and knew His future. 

10.  Loving Her Son, and knowing that He was also God, Mary suffered.  She suffered the knowledge that He was the Sacrificial Lamb of God, prophesied by Abraham and Isaiah.