Alas, the life of a student blogger. I have a beautiful topic in mind – Thursday’s Feast of Candlemas – and an equally strong desire to post. And then it happens, the clock strikes 10:00 P.M. Like an overused computer, my mind shuts down, my brain turns off, and my will power quickly follows. So I have come back to my post on Candlemas. This post was supposed to be out yesterday, but between the homeschool meeting and the All Night Vigil, it once again slipped through my fingers. I am not exactly over due, for our Orthodox brethren celebrate the Feast of Candlemas with a forefeast of one day, and an afterfeast of seven. I am just following in their spirit, and the tradition of my own tardiness. Forgive me.
As I mentioned, Thursday we celebrated the Feast of Candlemas. This feast commemorates the Presentation for the Lord and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since today is Saturday, I will post on the more overlooked aspect of this feast: the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Recall, Jewish law required that the mother, after giving birth, was to be cleansed after forty days from the birth of a son or eighty days from the birth of a daughter.
Well, you may ask: “Mary was was the purest of the pure, the Sinless Mother of Christ. Why would she need any more purification?” The answer quite simply is that she didn’t need to be purified, just like Jesus Christ, her Son, didn’t need to be baptized by John. Her personal salvation was not contingent upon her ritual washing, and just as with Christ, the water neither added nor detracted anything from their personal holiness. However she, like Christ, exercised her free will and “suffer[ed] it to be so now. For so it becometh [us] to fufil all justice (Matthew 3: 15b).” What was necessary was obedience to the will of the Father and his vast eternal plan. This was why Our Blessed Mother faithfully followed the ordinances set by God in the Torah. Her freely given obedience was most important as it fulfilled all justice.
So what is the take-home message? To put it quite simply: obedience to God and to the legitimate authority He has placed over us (even what it doesn’t seem fair or make sense) are pleasing to Him, and are thus essential to our salvation. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard religious answer: “obedience!” when questioned which is the most difficult vow keep. It is natural for human beings to rebel, to spread our wings and be free. Yet, we know that only true freedom is found in perfect freely given obedience to God and his will. This is why we turn to the Blessed Mother. In her, we find the exemplary model of obedience to God, even when what He asked seemed unnecessary or just did not make sense. Let us turn to Mary and ask her for her intercession and grace:
O Blessed Mother, help us to more perfectly and freely obey the Lord. Help us to suppress our rebellious ways and better follow Our Lord by taking up our crosses and following Him. Amen.
Thank you for praying with me, to honor our Blessed Mother and please do not forget to offer up little acts of love to her on this her special day.