From ‘Saint Andrew Daily Missal’:
The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is founded on a pious tradition, originated by two apocryphal gospels which relate that the Blessed Virgin was presented in the temple of Jerusalem when three years old, and that she lived there with other girls and the holy women who had them in their care. Already in the sixth century the event is commemorated in the East and the Emperor Michael Comnenus alludes to it in a constitution of 1166.
A French nobleman, Philippe de Maizerès, who was chancellor at the court of the King of Cyprus, having been sent in 1372 as ambassador to Pope Gregory XI, at Avignon, related to him with what magnificence the feast was solemnised in Greece, on November 21. His Holiness introduced the feast at Avignon and Sixtus V in Rome in 1585. Clement VIII raised it to the rank of greater-double and re-arranged the office.
O God who wast pleased that on this day the blessed Mary ever a virgin, the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, should be presented in the temple; grant, we beseech Thee, that through her prayers we may be found worthy to be presented in the temple of Thy glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From a beautiful post on Vultus Christi: ‘The Earlier Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary’:
For some years now, especially around the Marian feasts of September 8th, September 12th, November 21st, and December 8th, I have “told my beads” while dwelling on five mysteries of the first part of Our Lady’s life. These five mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary are:
— the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne (feast December 8th);
— the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (feast September 8th);
— the Most Holy Name of Mary (feast September 12th);
— the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple (feast November 21st);
— the Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph (feast January 23rd).
There is a particular sweetness in dwelling on these mysteries of Maria Bambina, the Infant Mary, the Child Mary. They distill graces of purity, of childlike simplicity, and of littleness.
All five mysteries are commemorated in the Sacred Liturgy. The liturgical books are rich in texts to nourish the meditation of each one. It is enough to take an antiphon, a verse, a single phrase, and to hold it in the heart while telling one’s beads. The Rosary corresponds to the meditatio and the oratio of monastic prayer; it begins necessarily in lectio divina, the hearing of the Word, and then, gently, almost imperceptibly, draws the soul into contemplatio.
The Rosary is, I am convinced, the surest and easiest school of contemplative prayer. The Rosary decapitates pride, the single greatest obstacle to union with God. The repetition of the Aves, like a stream of pure water, cleanses the heart.