Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Today is the Feast of the Presentation. It is a feast that everyone knows a great deal about... because it is one of the Mysteries of the Rosary. It is a very important feast for many reasons, but I am going to show its vocational significance.
First, Jesus Himself is the perfect example of the perfect vocation. His every action in following His vocation should be our model when we follow ours. Even Jesus did not put Himself above the Law of Moses. He came to fulfill it, not to displace it. He went through every custom of the Jewish Law as He grew up, and the Presentation is the perfect example of this. He was offered to the Father as dictated in the Old Testament, which is significant considering His whole life was offered to God. Our lives also should be dedicated to God as His was. We must follow His example as His entire Being and Work was dedicated to following His Vocation.
One thing which is partially non-related, but which I would like to mention here, is a not often detail concerning Christ's vocation. Following the law of Moses, He was also circumcised. This first spilling of His Blood, this one cry very shortly after His Birth, would have been sufficient to redeem us. Why? Because He is God. But, He desired to live His human vocation to the fullest in the most complete sense of the word. He taught us, walked and empathized with us, and then went through all the horrible pains of the Passion, a pain a hundredfold beyond what we can imagine, to show us His love. Sometimes I used to wonder why God would let me live so long, or how anyone could bear to live so long, with heaven awaiting their souls each time they are in the state of grace. The reason is because God desires us to live our vocation to the fullest, as Jesus did. To give EVERYTHING, even those things which we did not have to give at birth. Jesus is the perfect example of this... for He continues to fulfill His Vocation in the Blessed Sacrament of the Mass.
Simeon is an example of one of the greatest resources of human existence: hope. He lived during a time that the world was still dark... and yet, he could see the light in the distance. He waited many years patiently for the coming of Christ, and, most importantly, He recognized Christ when He came. We must learn to see and recognize Jesus as clearly as Simeon saw Him. Whether it is other people, words, or actions... we need to believe that The Light is there and identify it when we see it. When following our vocations, this is especially important. We need to feel the pull towards Jesus, just as Simeon did when he was guided to the temple by the Holy Ghost. Then, when we find Him, we must embrace Him as Simeon did and carry Him with us, showing His Light to others in its various forms.
Simeon told Mary "a sword will pierce your heart..." She, as the Mother of Christ, was intimately involved with His Vocation. When she brought Him to the temple and presented Him to God, she was giving of herself in complete fidelity to Him. She was beginning her Child on a path that would, no doubt, end in pain. We must remember that our parents who offer us in Baptism are beginning us on the path of our vocation before we have grown enough to begin ourselves. We are dedicated to God and His Blessing is given to us, so that we may walk with a holy mark on our brow as Christ did... We must appreciate this gift and use it wisely to follow Him.
When I told Mother Vicaress of my decision to enter the Poor Clare community, she said something I'll never forget. She said "St. Clare must have had her eye on you even before you were born, and raised you a Poor Clare from birth." We must never underestimate the saints' desire to help us from their place before God, for they delight in our following of our vocations. We must delight in the Holy Vocation of Christ and watch it carefully from beginning to end... end? We must always let Him be our Model as He continues His Vocation of King and Beloved of all His people.
The Presentation has great vocational significance to me, as you can see. So, when I received my candle today at Mass, a blessed light to light the darkness, I thought of how I might use it. At first, I considered burning it as I prayed for my friends and all of you who are following vocations. But, it occurred to me how sad I would be if it all burned out... and I no longer had something special to give to my dear friends searching. Therefore, I've decided to burn the wax until it is melted, with some burnt palm ashes from Palm Sunday (that has vocational significance too), and put it on some yellow note cards to give to them... as a promise that I am praying for them and as a sacramental for them to keep to remember how special the Presentation is for Vocations. If you are seeking your vocation and need some prayers... let me know and I will give you one.
Knowing that Karinann would, no doubt, have a post concerning the Presentation on her blog this morning... I went looking for it. I hope she will not mind that, since my post concerns mostly vocational significance of this holy feast, I am suggesting that you visit her post for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, where she has posted a very good excerpt concerning it.