A Day For Those Who Pray
Today we remember an event passed down to us through tradition – the presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple. The stories passed down through tradition reflect the earliest years of Mary’s life were much like Samuel’s of the Old Testament. Anne and Joachim were childless, which was a sign of disgrace in that culture. They prayed to God and He answered their prayer by giving them Mary. At the age of three, Mary’s parents, Anne and Joachim, took Mary and presented her to God at the Temple, where she remained until (or shortly before) her betrothal to Joseph.
Artists have long painted this scene with a joyful Mary climbing the fifteen steps to the temple, where the high priest waits in astonishment at her mature demeanor for such a little child – her footsteps are graceful and sure and she doesn’t look back. It is also said she danced with joy in God’s presence once she reached the top. Her parents see her off at the bottom of the steps, faces full of joy and gratitude for their child, yet laced with sorrow at the parting.
Today is also the day dedicated by the Church to celebrate World Day of Cloistered Life, an ecclesial event for all Catholics to commemorate the hidden lives of cloistered and monastic religious. Like Mary, cloistered religious have left all to dwell in the house of God and seek His face on behalf of His people. Some wonderful ways to honor the event include prayer (participating in a novena, offering up Masses, etc.), encouragement (writing letters to contemplative communities, visiting them, calling to thank them, etc.), and giving material support (financial and in-kind donations).
A few years ago at a general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reminded the Church, “Let us give thanks to the Lord for the powerful testimony of cloistered life.” He also urged the faithful to lend their spiritual and material support to these brothers and sisters of ours “so that they can carry out their important mission.” Our community is grateful for all of you who have so generously supported us with the generous giving of prayers, time, talents, and treasure. We humbly ask for your continued support, as you help make possible the life we live for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Deo gratias!
Prayer in Support of the Cloistered Life
Eternal Father, We praise and thank you for those sisters and brothers who have embraced the gift of the cloistered and monastic life. Their prayerful presence is indispensable to the Church’s life and mission, and is the foundation of the New Evangelization. As we celebrate World day of Cloistered life, let us honor the holiness and glory of the Blessed Virgin. May she, who was presented in the Temple, intercede so that many young people might dedicate themselves entirely to Your divine service by hidden lives of contemplative prayer and selfless sacrifice. May all of us be mindful of the spiritual and material needs of those who commit their lives to seeking God by fixing their gaze on those things which are eternal. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.