A Temple More Sacred than the Temple of Jerusalem

The feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple evokes first of all the holiness of Mary. The 3-year-old child presented in the Temple brings to mind the image of a consecrated life, a life of intimacy with God: “Today the All-Pure and All-Holy enters the Holy of Holies” (Orthodox liturgy). It is evident that the Church in this passage makes a special allusion to the Perpetual Virginity of Mary; but all human life, in various ways, can be a life “presented to the Temple,” a holy and pure life with God.

The second theme of this feast is the comparison between the Stone Temple and the Living Temple. Mary, who will one day carry the God-Man in her womb, is a temple more sacred than the temple of Jerusalem. It was fitting that these two temples would meet, but today it is the living temple that sanctifies the stone temple. The superiority of the living temple over the stone temple is true of Mary in a most special way, because she was the instrument of the Incarnation. But, more generally, it is true also of every man who is in communion with God: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3, 16)? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6, 19)?”

Let us open our souls to Mary, so that she may live in our own temple and keep it constantly united to God. On the other hand, since the One Church of Christ – the Catholic Church – is fully the Mystical Body of Christ, the Temple of God, let us consider today’s feast as the Presentation of Mary in this Temple which is the Holy Catholic Church! This Temple is the Church that today pays homage to the Temple that is Mary.

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