Thursday, November 21, 2013



O beloved Mother of God,
most amiable child Mary,
O that, as thou didst present thyself in the temple,
and with promptitude and without reserve,
didst consecrate thyself to the glory and love of God,
I could offer thee, this day,
the first years of my life,
to devote myself without reserve to thy service,
my holy and most sweet Lady!

But it is now too late to do this; 
for, unfortunate creature that I am, 
have lost so many years in the service of the world and my own caprices,
and have lived in almost entire forgetfulness of thee and of God:
Woe to that time in which I did not love thee!
("Vae tempori illi, in quo non amavi te!")
But it is better to begin late than not at all.
Behold, O Mary,
I this day present myself to thee,
and I offer myself without reserve to thy service
for the long or short time that I still have to live in this world;
and in union with thee I renounce all creatures,
and devote myself entirely to the love of my Creator.
I consecrate my mind to thee,
O Queen,
that it may always think of the love that thou deserves,
my tongue to praise thee,
my heart to love thee.
Do thou accept,
O most holy Virgin,
the offering which this miserable sinner now makes thee;
accept it, I beseech thee,
by the consolation that thy heart experienced when thou gavest thyself to God in the temple.
But since I enter thy service late,
it is reasonable that I should redouble my acts of homage and love,
thereby to compensate for lost time.
Do thou help my weakness with thy powerful intercession,
O Mother of Mercy,
by obtaining me perseverance from thy Jesus,
and strength to be always faithful to thee until death;
that thus always serving thee in life,
I may praise thee in Paradise for all eternity.



Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1 MC 2:15-29

The officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy
came to the city of Modein to organize the sacrifices.
Many of Israel joined them,
but Mattathias and his sons gathered in a group apart.
Then the officers of the king addressed Mattathias:
“You are a leader, an honorable and great man in this city,
supported by sons and kin.
Come now, be the first to obey the king’s command,
as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah
and those who are left in Jerusalem have done.
Then you and your sons shall be numbered among the King’s Friends,
and shall be enriched with silver and gold and many gifts.”
But Mattathias answered in a loud voice:
“Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him,
so that each forsakes the religion of his fathers
and consents to the king’s orders,
yet I and my sons and my kin
will keep to the covenant of our fathers.
God forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments.
We will not obey the words of the king
nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.”

As he finished saying these words,
a certain Jew came forward in the sight of all
to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein
according to the king’s order.
When Mattathias saw him, he was filled with zeal;
his heart was moved and his just fury was aroused;
he sprang forward and killed him upon the altar.
At the same time, he also killed the messenger of the king
who was forcing them to sacrifice,
and he tore down the altar.
Thus he showed his zeal for the law,
just as Phinehas did with Zimri, son of Salu.

Then Mattathias went through the city shouting,
“Let everyone who is zealous for the law
and who stands by the covenant follow after me!”
Thereupon he fled to the mountains with his sons,
leaving behind in the city all their possessions.
Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom
went out into the desert to settle there.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 50:1B-2, 5-6, 14-15

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

LK 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,

“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”


November 21

Presentation of Mary

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.

As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. 
It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and of the birth of Mary (September 8). 
It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Christ is the son of Mary:
come, let us adore him.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

Christ is the son of Mary:
come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

Christ is the son of Mary:
come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

Christ is the son of Mary:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Christ is the son of Mary:
come, let us adore him.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Eternal Father, through your Word
You gave new life to Adam’s race,
And call us now to live in light,
New creatures by your saving grace.
To you who stooped to all who sin
We render homage and give praise:
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
Whose loving gift is endless days.

Psalm 17 (18)

The word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.

The Lord’s ways are pure;
the words of the Lord are refined in the furnace;
the Lord protects all who hope in him.
For what God is there, but our Lord?
What help, but in the Lord our God?
God, who has wrapped me in his strength
and set me on the perfect path,
who has made my feet like those of the deer,
who has set me firm upon the heights,
who trains my hands for battle,
teaches my arms to bend a bow of bronze.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.

Psalm 17 (18)

Lord, your right hand upheld me.

You have given me the shield of your salvation;
your right hand holds me up;
by answering me, you give me greatness.
You have stretched the length of my stride,
my feet do not weaken.
I pursue my enemies and surround them;
I do not turn back until they are no more.
I smash them to pieces, they cannot stand,
they fall beneath my feet.
You have wrapped me round with strength for war,
and made my attackers fall under me.
You turned my enemies’ backs on me,
you destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out, but there was no-one to save them;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not hear.
I have ground them up until they are dust in the wind,
trodden them down like the mud of the street.
You have delivered me from the murmurings of the people
and placed me at the head of the nations.
A people I do not even know serves me –
at a mere rumor of my orders, they obey.
The children of strangers beg for my favor;
they hide away and tremble where they hide.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, your right hand upheld me.

Psalm 17 (18)

Long life to the Lord!
Praised be the God who saves me.

The Lord lives, my blessed Helper.
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
God, you give me my revenge,
you subject peoples to my rule,
you free me from my enraged enemies.
You raise me up from those who attack me,
you snatch me from the grasp of the violent.
And so I will proclaim you among the nations, Lord,
and sing to your name.
Time and again you save your king,
you show your loving kindness to your anointed,
to David and his descendants for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Long life to the Lord!
Praised be the God who saves me.

Uncover my eyes, Lord,
– and I will consider the wonders of your Law.

First Reading
Zechariah 11:4-12:8

This is how the Lord spoke to me, ‘Pasture the sheep bred for slaughter, whose buyers kill them and go unpunished, whose sellers say of them, “Blessed be the Lord; now I am rich!” and their shepherds handle them without kindness. (For no longer am I going to show kindness to the inhabitants of the world – it is the Lord who speaks. But instead I mean to hand over every man to the next, and to his king. They shall devastate the world and I will not deliver them from their hands.)’ Then I began to pasture these sheep bred for slaughter for the sheep dealers. I took two staves: one I called Goodwill, the other Union. And so I began to pasture the sheep. I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. But I began to dislike the sheep, and they equally detested me. I then said, ‘I am going to pasture you no longer; let those that wish to die, die; let those that wish to perish, perish; and let those that are left devour each other’s flesh!’ I then took my staff, Goodwill, and broke it in half, to break the covenant the Lord had made with all the peoples. When it was broken, that day the dealers, who were watching me, realized that this had been a word of the Lord. I then said to them, ‘If you think it right, give me my wages; if not, never mind.’ And they weighed out my wages: thirty shekels of silver. But the Lord told me, ‘Throw it into the treasury, this princely sum at which they have valued me.’ Taking the thirty shekels of silver, I threw them into the Temple of the Lord, into the treasury. I then broke my second staff, Union, in half, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

Next, the Lord said to me, ‘Now take the gear of an incompetent shepherd. For I am now going to raise an incompetent shepherd in this country. He will not bother about the lost; he will not look for the stray; he will not heal the wounded; he will not support the weary; but he will only eat the flesh of the fat beasts and tear off their hoofs.

‘Trouble is coming to the worthless shepherd
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm
and his right eye!
May his arm wither entirely,
may his eye be totally blinded!’

An oracle. The word of the Lord about Israel. It is the Lord who speaks, 
who spread out the heaven and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:

‘Look, I am going to make Jerusalem an intoxicating cup to all the surrounding peoples...

‘When that day comes, I mean to make Jerusalem a stone to be lifted by all the peoples; all who try to lift it will hurt themselves severely. (And all the nations of the earth will mass against her.) When that day comes – it is the Lord who speaks – I intend to strike all the horses with confusion and their riders with madness. (But on the House of Judah I will open my eyes.) And I will strike all the horses of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, “Strength for the citizens of Jerusalem is in the Lord of Hosts, their God.” When that day comes I mean to make the clans of Judah like a brazier burning in a pile of wood, like a flaming torch in stubble; and they will consume the peoples round them to right and left. And Jerusalem shall stand firm in her place. The Lord will save the tents of Judah first to forestall the arrogance of the House of David and the arrogance of the citizens of Jerusalem from rising to the detriment of Judah. When that day comes, the Lord will spread his protection over the citizens of Jerusalem; the one among them who was about to fall will be like David on that day, 
and the House of David will be like God (like the angel of the Lord) at their head.’


They weighed out my wages:
thirty pieces of silver,
the princely sum at which they valued me.

Judas said to the chief priests:
‘What will you give me to betray Jesus to you?’
They agreed to pay him thirty pieces of silver,
the princely sum at which they valued me.

Second Reading
From a sermon
by Saint Augustine

By faith she believed; by faith, conceived

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. 
Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; 
but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent – the most eminent – member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, 
and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine 
– our head is God.

Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfills the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.

Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church,” I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, 
you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.


I exult for joy in the Lord,
my soul rejoices in my God,
for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation like a bride adorned in her jewels.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my savior,
for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation like a bride adorned in her jewels.

Let us pray.

as we honor the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and seek her help,
grant that we, like her,
may share in the fullness of your grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.