Presentation of Mary & Pro Orantibus Day


Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle. ~Hymn for the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple of Our Most Holy Lady, The Theotokos

Today, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary or the Entrance into the Temple of Our Most Holy Lady, The Theotokos as it is known in the Eastern Church, is the day when the Church prays in particular for her cloistered nuns, those who image Mary's early life in the Temple in a special way. From the age of three until the age of twelve Mary lived a life of worship in the Temple, wholly devoted to God. Worship was not something she did, it was who she was. Likewise, through the profession of Solemn Vows a cloistered nun's whole life becomes an act of worship. Nuns do not live a life of saying prayers, our life is a prayer. But we need prayers, too!

Anna and Joachim, Mary's parents, were careful to arrange the presentation in a way that would enable Mary to give herself whole-heartedly. Joachim decided to invite other maidens with their lamps that little three-year-old Mary might "not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord." Even sinless, stainless Mary, unburdened with the weight of concupiscence, was helped in her gift of self by others.

How much more do cloistered nuns, sinners one and all, need the prayers of others to help them keep the course and and not turn and be captivated by something other than the Lord! Mother Church gives us this day, Pro Orantibus Day, to remind Her children to pray for their sisters who pray for them.

We thank you for your prayers!

Below is an excerpt from the Protoevangelium of James on the Presentation of Mary.

"And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.
And her parents went down marveling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel."