According to Holy Tradition, the parents of the Virgin Mary, Saints Joachim and Anna, praying for an end to their childlessness, vowed that if a child were born to them, they would dedicate it to the service of God. When the Most Holy Virgin reached the age of three, the holy parents decided to fulfill their vow. They gathered together their relatives and acquaintances, and dressed the All-Pure Virgin in Her finest clothes. Singing sacred songs and with lighted candles in their hands, virgins escorted Her to the Temple. After entrusting their child to the Heavenly Father, Joachim and Anna returned home. The All-Holy Virgin remained in the quarters for virgins near the Temple. The earthly life of the Most Holy Theotokos from Her infancy until She was taken up to Heaven is shrouded in deep mystery. Her life at the Jerusalem Temple was also a secret.
Today is the prelude of God’s benevolence and the herald of our salvation; for the Virgin openly appears in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also with full voice exclaim to her: Rejoice, fulfillment of the Creator’s plan.
The most pure Temple of the Savior, the most precious Bridal Chamber and Virgin, the Treasury of the glory of God, is led today into the house of the Lord, bringing grace in the Spirit of God. God’s angels praise her in song; she is the Heavenly Ark.
Hebrews 9: 1-7
Brothers and sisters: The first covenant had regulations and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the showbread; this was called the holy place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the holy of holies, in which were the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In the ark were the golden jars containing manna, the rod of Aaron which had blossomed, and the tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. We cannot speak now of each of these in detail. These were the arrangements for worship. In performing their service the priests used to go into the inner one, and that but once a year, with the blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people.
Luke 10: 38-42, 11: 27-28
At that time Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to his words. Martha, who was busy with all the details of hospitality, came to Jesus and said, “Lord, are you not concerned that my sister has left me to do the household tasks all alone? Tell her to help me.”
The Lord in reply said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.”
While he was saying this a woman from the crowd called out, “Blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus replied, “Rather, blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, November 20 –