“Mondays with Mary” – 7 Quotes on The Encounter of Our Lord with Simeon and Mary’s Purification

Today in both the Western and Eastern lungs of the Church, we celebrate the important feast where Our Lord Jesus Christ is presented in the Temple. A feast that originated in the Eastern Churches and was known as “The Meeting” for many centuries, it is now titled the Encounter of Our Lord with Simeon. In the West, beginning in the sixth century this feast began; however, the focus was the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary because of the words of St. Simeon from the Gospel of Luke –

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35)

This day has also popularly become known as “Candlemas” because of the solemn blessings and processions with candles that developed. Through the offerings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and the prophecy of St. Simeon, it is here at this point that we begin to focus on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Presenation of Jesus in the Temple - Giotto di Bondone

With this being said, let’s turn to the seven quotes from different saints and theologians who have written or spoken about these events that take place with Mary at the Encounter of Our Lord with Simeon –

1. “Simeon gave back Jesus to His Mother; he was only suffered to keep Him for one moment. But we are far happier than Simenon. We may keep Him always if we will. In Communion He comes not only into our arms but into our hearts.” – St. John Vianney

2. “With his inspired words, Simeon, a man of the Old Covenant, a man of the temple of Jerusalem, expresses his conviction that this Light is meant not only for Israel, but also for pagans and all the peoples of the earth. With him, the ‘aged’ world receives in its arms the splendor of God’s eternal ‘youth’. However, the shadow of the Cross already looms in the background, because the darkness will reject that Light. Indeed, turning to Mary, Simeon prophesies: ‘This child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed’” (Lk 2:34-35). – Pope St. John Paul II

3. “Finally, as we have seen, Simeon’s Passion prophecy becomes quite specific…the contradiction against the Son is also directed against the mother and it cuts her to the heart. For her, the Cross of radical contradiction becomes the sword that pierces her soul. From Mary we can learn that what true com-passion is: quite unsentimentally assuming the sufferings of others as one’s own.” – Pope Benedict XVI

4. “The glorious St. Simeon also was very happy…to carry Him as did Our Lady…we do this when we endure with love the labors and pains He sends us, that is to say, when the love which we bear to the Law of God makes us find His yoke easy and pleasing, so that we love these pains and labors, and gather sweetness in the midst of bitterness. This is nothing else but to carry Our Lord in our arms. Now if we carry Him in this way, He will, without doubt, Himself carry us.” – St. Francis de Sales

5. The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Savior-the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of Israel”, but also “a sign that is spoken against”. The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “prepared in the presence of all peoples”. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, #529

6. “But why, O old man, do you mix sad predictions with glad tidings? Up until now, you have proclaimed ‘light’ and ‘glory’, and now you announce ‘downfall’ and speak of a ‘sword’ for the Mother. ‘Yes,’ you say, ‘everything will happen at the appropriate time. There will be downfall for unbelievers, rising for believers, and a sign that is spoken against…’” – Theodotus of Ancyra

7. “…Yes when you see your Son nailed to the Cross, Immaculate Virgin, and recall the words of the angel, his divine conception, and his ineffable miracles, at that moment you will doubt: for you, this hesitation, will be a sword of pain. But later God will bring ready healing to your heart.” – Romanos the Melodist


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