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Meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

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The Presentation in the Temple - The Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary
Stained-glass window of the Presentation in St. Mary's Church, Painesville, OH. (© Scott P. Richert)

A stained-glass window of the Presentation in Saint Mary's Church, Painesville, OH.

(Photo © Scott P. Richert)

The Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is the Presentation in the Temple, which we celebrate on February 2 as the Presentation of the Lord or Candlemas. The fruit most commonly associated with the mystery of the Presentation is purity of mind and body.

Meditation on the Presentation:

"And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord" (Luke 2:22). Mary had conceived the Son of God as a virgin; she gave birth to the Savior of the World, and her virginity remained intact; through her piety and that of Saint Joseph, she would remain a virgin for her entire life. So what does it mean to refer to the "days of her purification"?

Under the Old Law, a woman remained impure for 40 days after the birth of a child. But Mary was not subject to the Law, because of the special circumstances of Christ's Birth. Yet she obeyed it anyway. And in doing so, she showed that a ritual concerned with the purification of the body was really a symbol for the purity of soul of the true believer.

Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice, in accordance with the Law: "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24), to redeem the Son of God, Who needed no redemption. "The Law is made for man, not man for the Law," Christ Himself would later say, yet here is the Holy Family fulfilling the Law even though it does not apply to them.

How often do we think that we don't need all the regulations and rituals of the Church! "Why do I have to go to Confession? God knows I'm sorry for my sins"; "Fasting and abstinence are manmade laws"; "If I miss Mass one Sunday, God will understand." Yet here are the Son of God and His Mother, both more pure than any of us will ever be, abiding by the Law that Christ Himself came not to abolish but fulfill. Their obedience to the Law was not lessened by their purity of soul, but made all the greater. Might we not learn from their example?

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