Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


They [Mary and Joseph] took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. - Luke 2:22b-24

Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple by Our Lady and St. Joseph. The ritual law of Israel required that 40 days after the birth of a child, a period of time in which the mother would be legally impure and unable to touch anything sacred, that every child born be presented to the Lord, and as part of that presentation, the mother of the child was to offer a year-old lamb and a turtledove in sacrifice as an expiation of sin. If the woman could not afford a lamb, then she was to offer two turtledoves instead.

This brings a couple of things to the forefront of my mind. First of all, the Blessed Mother offers two turtledoves instead of a year-old lamb. This means that Our Lady was a woman of modest means, she was a "lowly handmaid" of the Lord. In her lowliness, the Mother of God was full of God's grace, she was aware of her complete dependence on God, and she proclaimed his greatness in the Magnificat. In a sense, her poverty is all the more impressive because in spite of it, she is the most blessed of all women, blessed in that she was completely and humbly accepting of her role in salvation history, and therefore, blessed by God.

The second thing is the idea of the Blessed Mother offering a sacrifice to God for the expiation of sin. The constant Tradition of the Church has taught that Our Lady was without sin from the moment of her conception. There are those who would say that because she offered the two turtledoves, she must therefore have sinned in some fashion. I believe, on the contrary, that she was being obedient to the Law of Moses to which she was bound, and had she not made the offering of two turtledoves, she very well would have sinned, the sin of disobedience to the command of the Lord. It is along the same lines as what Christ did on the cross, not exactly the same, but along the same lines. Even though he was without sin, Christ obediently offered himself in sacrifice to the Father for the expiation of sin, being obedient to the point that he allowed himself to be cursed (by being hung from a tree), yet no one would dare say that Christ had sinned and as proof of his sinfulness, he offered himself in sacrifice for those sins.

So, let us follow the example of humility and charity which is the Blessed Virgin Mary: always obedient, always leading us to her Son, always immaculate.

Lord Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, have mercy on us and save us!


Post a Comment

<< Home