The Purification of Mary
Her time of separation was over. Mary traveled with me to the Temple to perform the ritual. She wanted to walk to the city barefoot as reparation to God. I told her firmly no. She obeyed my decision without complaint. Mary was astride the animal carrying Jesus in her arms. When we arrived I took Jesus from her as she prepared herself and entered the Mikvah. After the ritual, she took him back in her arms. Her expression was serene. On the way to Jerusalem, I saw tension in her face. She was concerned for Jesus’ safety. After the rite, it seemed liked the tension was washed away. We knew the risk to us and the child of our being in the city. The Magi had pronounced him King of the Jews. Herod would be even more incensed than his usual murderous self if he heard those words. I am aware that some of the Priests in the Temple are in league with him. They are his spies serving their avarice while performing their duties. May God shield us from their eyes. I have noticed that Mary gains strength of body and spirit when she fulfills God’s law. To her, it is not a burden but an act of love. She is my strength.
What words are these pronounced by him? Is he a Prophet? His name is Simeon. I am certain he is not one of Herod’s spies. I saw him many times during the years I visited the Temple with my father.
The Temple was empty when we brought Jesus for his dedication, just Simeon, us and one other, a woman named Anna.
As we walked towards the Inner Temple he came to us. Mary was prepared to wait in prayer as she cannot enter the inner chamber but Simeon came to us with haste in his step that defied his years. He was as a man full of the joy of God. He took the child from us and sang praises to God. Mary and I were astonished at what he said.
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
I was relieved that the Temple was empty. What Simeon proclaimed could be a death sentence to the child and us. Then he looked directly at Mary and proclaimed, “A sword shall pierce you …!” At those words, I felt as if a sword had pierced my heart. I became even more determined to protect Mary and our Child.
Anna, the woman, heard Simeon’s proclamation and came over to us. She too was overjoyed. Anna had been one of the instructors of the young women who, like Mary, lived at the Temple. She recognized Mary right away but her eyes were focused only on Jesus. She too proclaimed great words of joy and thanksgiving to the Lord. In her zeal she left and I feared she would spread word of our presence in Jerusalem.
We offered the required sacrifice and left as quickly and quietly as we could. We offered the sacrifice of the poor. The gifts of the Magi I kept concealed. I intend to distribute them quietly. For a man like me to offer a grand sacrifice would attract too much attention. I trust in God’s providence for our safety but I must also act cautiously, Mary and Jesus’s lives are in my care.
We retreated to Bethlehem as we both felt safe at the place where God had led us.
My spirit was lifted as I left the bath. I pondered the Angel’s words, “Hail full of grace …!” My only desire is to do His will. I gladly follow the law that fills my heart.
My spirit was lifted higher than ever as we walked towards the Inner Chamber. There I saw a familiar face, Simeon. I knew him from my days of living in the Temple. He approached and bowed then took the child in his arms.
“Salvation,” he proclaimed “salvation and a light for all, even the Gentiles.”
My soul has felt that light ever since the Angel’s words. The light has burned intensely as God has continued to reveal His benefits. They came to honor Him, the Shepherds then the Kings and of course the Angels’ singing their praises. Even the animals seemed to worship Jesus.
Simeon’s words at first lifted me higher but then, I fell, I plummeted to the ground crushed and broken.
I would gladly be pierced by a sword to save my child. What does he mean a contradiction?
Anna was also there. She too I knew from my time at the Temple. She exulted at the sight of the Child and began to proclaim wondrous words. I wanted to caution her but in her excitement she left to tell others of her joy.
I saw the look on Joseph’s face, a look of deep concern but also determination. We completed the ritual and left quietly in haste. Joseph was intent on our leaving the city. We traveled back to Bethlehem. We have been safe here for the time. It is the place God chose to bring His Son into the world. He will protect us.