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In honor of the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, we here provide this description of the Presentation, compiled by Raphael Brown from some of the Church’s greatest mystics. – Ed.

When the fortieth day after the Nativity drew near, the Immaculate Mother of God did not hesitate to subject herself to the general Hebrew law requiring the purification of mothers and the presentation of first-born sons in the Temple at Jerusalem. For she saw in the soul of her divine Son that He wished to offer Himself as a living victim to the eternal Father in the Temple.

Consequently Mary and Joseph gratefully took leave of the good woman who had sheltered them, and went with Jesus to the cave of the Nativity for a last visit. Having gently placed the Christ Child on the ground at the very spot where He was born, they both knelt and prayed fervently together, and they did the same where He had been circumcised.

Then, as usual before a journey, Mary asked her husband for his blessing, and on this special occasion for his permission to make the trip on foot and with bare feet. But St. Joseph replied kindly yet firmly:

“May the Son of the eternal Father, whom I hold in my arms, give you His blessing! You may travel to Jerusalem on foot, but not barefooted, because of the weather.”

Prostrating herself on the ground for the last time in the grotto of the Nativity, with all her heart Mary thanked the Infant Jesus for the marvelous blessings which He had given to Joseph and herself and to all mankind in the stable of Bethlehem, and she prayed to God that this holy place might always be revered by Christians.

Rising to her feet, she covered herself with her cloak and took her Baby into her arms, pressing Him to her breast to protect Him from the cold winter wind. Then, after the Infant God had visibly given them His blessing, Joseph and Mary set out for Jerusalem, accompanied by a donkey bearing their few belongings and the gifts for the Temple. Some of the good shepherds bade them a sad and touchingly affectionate farewell.

During the five-mile journey, the weather was unusually severe. Cold, sleety winds made the Child Jesus shiver and weep.

Toward evening, having traveled slowly with several resting periods, the Holy Family reached the city gate of Jerusalem and found a welcome lodging in the humble home of a devout old couple without children. Then, at Mary’s suggestion, St. Joseph went alone to the Temple and made an anonymous donation of the myrrh, incense and gold, in order to avoid any ostentation of wealth at the ceremony the following day.

The holy Mother of God spent the night before the Purification in fervent prayer. Speaking to the Eternal Father, she said: “My Lord and my God, a festive day for Heaven and earth will be that on which I offer the living Victim to Thee in Thy Temple. In return, this is what I ask of Thee, my Lord: pour forth Thy mercies upon mankind, pardoning sinners, consoling the afflicted, and helping the needy! My soul shall magnify Thee forever….”

That night, the holy man Simeon, a very old and thin priest with a short beard, was kneeling at prayer in a tiny cell of the great Temple in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit, who dwelt in him, had already revealed to him that he was not to die until he had seen the promised Messiah. Now while he was praying in ecstasy, an angel appeared to him and told him to observe carefully the first child presented to the priests the next morning, for that child would be the Savior of the world for whom he longed so much. The angel also informed Simeon that he would die soon afterward. The old man was inflamed with joy.

The holy matron Anna was likewise favored with a vision concerning the Purification, and she rejoiced greatly, because she had been one of Mary’s teachers during her stay in the Temple as a girl.

Before dawn the Holy Family left their lodging in Jerusalem and went to the Temple, accompanied by thousands of invisible chanting angels. At the entrance of the Women’s Court, Mary knelt and humbly presented herself to God with His Son in her arms. She was dressed in a light-blue robe, over which she wore a long, yellow mantle and a white veil.

The simple and devout old priest Simeon, who had been waiting for several hours already, could no longer restrain his impatience. Moved by the Holy Spirit, he went to meet his Lord, and in the hallway he caught sight of both Mother and Child surrounded by a wonderful light. After saying a few words to Mary, with the greatest joy he took the divine Child into his arms and pressed Him to his heart. Then he quietly withdrew into another part of the building, while Mary was led by a woman to the Temple Court. St. Joseph had given the basket with the two turtledoves to Anna and then passed through another door to the men’s section.

In the large ceremonial hall everything was prepared. On the walls many lamps hung in pyramid form. Several priests had placed in front of the altar a long table covered with a white cloth on which rested a cradle-like container and two baskets.

Simeon came to Mary and led her to the table, where she placed in the cradle the Child Jesus, who was wrapped in a long sky-blue veil. Then she was led back to the grilled-in women’s section, in which about twenty mothers with their first-born sons were waiting their turn.

The holy Temple now seemed to be filled with a heavenly light. Almighty God was present there. And above the Child the heavens seemed to open before the throne of the Holy Trinity.

Simeon and three other priests, having put on their ceremonial vestments, took their places around the table and prayed over the Babe. Then Anna gave Mary the basket with her offerings of fruit and coins, and Simeon again led her to the table. One of the priests took up the Child, raised Him toward Heaven and turned to Simeon, who placed Him back in the Virgin’s arms and recited over them both some prayers from a rolled manuscript. Then Simeon led Mary back to Anna, who accompanied her to the women’s section. After these ceremonies were over, Simeon came to Mary and received the Infant Jesus from her hands. Then, raising his eyes to Heaven in an ecstasy of joy, he offered the Child to the eternal Father, glorifying God for having fulfilled the promises, and saying:

“Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, in peace: because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people: A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and a glory for Thy people Israel.”

St. Joseph had come to join Mary, and he listened with deep respect to the inspired words of the old man. Simeon blessed them both. Then addressing himself to Mary, who was luminous like a heavenly rose, he added:

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

At the moment when the priest mentioned the sword and the sign of contradiction, which were prophetical of the Passion and death of the Lord, the Child Jesus bowed His head, thereby ratifying the prophecy and accepting it as the sentence of the eternal Father pronounced by His minister. All this was understood by Mary, and she began to feel sorrow, for as in a mirror her spirit was made to see the mysteries included in this prophecy. All these things remained indelibly impressed on her memory.

Anna the Prophetess was also inspired and proclaimed the Child’s Mother blessed.

Mary then humbly kissed the hand of the priest and again asked his blessing, and she did the same to Anna, her former teacher. Then with St. Joseph and her divine Child she returned to her lodging.

Not long afterward both Simeon and Anna passed away in peace.

The Blessed Virgin Said to St. Bridget of Sweden:

“I did not need purification, like other women, because my Son who was born of me, made me clean. Nevertheless, that the Law and the prophecies might be fulfilled, I chose to live according to the Law. Nor did I live like worldly parents, but humbly conversed with the humble. Nor did I wish to show anything extraordinary in me, but loved whatever was humble.

On that day (of the Purification) my pain was increased. For though by divine inspiration I knew that my Son was to suffer, yet this grief pierced my heart more keenly at Simeon’s words. And until I was assumed in body and soul to Heaven, this grief never left my heart, although it was tempered by the consolation of the Spirit of God. Let not, then, this grief leave your heart, for without tribulation few would reach Heaven.”

The Blessed Virgin Said to Venerable Mary of Agreda:

“My daughter, the doctrine and example contained in this Mystery will teach you to strive after the constancy and expansion of heart by which you may prepare yourself to accept blessings and adversity, the sweet and the bitter, with equanimity.

How persistently the human heart forgets that its Teacher and Master has first accepted sufferings, and has honored and sanctified them in His own Person!

Remember the sorrow that pierced my heart at the prophecies of Simeon, and how I remained in peace and tranquility, even though my heart and soul were transfixed by a sword of pain.

Seek ever to preserve inward peace.

Full of trust in me, whenever tribulation comes over you, fervently exclaim:

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?'”

 

The late Raphael Brown was a well-known author and secular Franciscan who wrote and translated many Catholic and Franciscan Works. The above article is an excerpt from his book, The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics, Tan, 1991.

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“Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, facing the east; but it was closed. He said to me: ‘This gate is to remain closed; it is not to be opened for anyone to enter by it; since the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it, it shall remain closed'” (Ezekiel 44)… Who is this gate, if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when he was brought forth in the virginal birth, and the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity (quando virginali fusus est partu, et genitalia virginitatis claustra non solvit)…. There is a gate of the womb, although it is not always closed; indeed only one was able to remain closed, that through which the One born of the Virgin came forth without the loss of genital intactness (per quam sine dispendio claustrorum genitalium virginis partus exivit).

– St. Ambrose, De institutione virginum.

It has been the Church’s consistent Tradition that Our Lady gave birth to Jesus in a “miraculous manner,” in full understanding of the dogmatic teaching that Mary was virginal before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ (Pope Martin I, First Lateran Council, 649). Mary’s virginity during the birth (virginitas in partu) has been explained by the Fathers of the Church with the following analogy: As light passes through glass without harming the glass, so too Jesus passed through the womb of Mary in a miraculous manner without any harm to Mary’s physical virginity.

The miraculous birth of Jesus was the near unanimous teaching of the Fathers, and was specifically defended by St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as the medieval theological tradition. The Magisterium of the Church also refers to the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ (Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943, and Lumen Gentium 57) acknowledging that the birth of Our Lord “did not diminish Mary’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” This is also confirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 499.

Without question the miraculous birth of Jesus represents the Traditional teaching of the Catholic Church, as well as the only proper and logical understanding of the dogmatic definition of Mary’s virginity during the birth of Christ. Moreover, it follows that Mary would give birth to Jesus without the pains of labor, since pain in giving birth was a punishment due to sin, a punishment and effect from which Mary was preserved in virtue of her Immaculate Conception. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, as well as St. Augustine, St. Thomas and theological tradition, likewise confirm Mary’s giving birth to Jesus without pain.

These truths are also verified in the mystical tradition of the Church. We here present the combined mystical accounts of St. Elizabeth of Schoenau, St. Bridget of Sweden, Bl. Mother Agreda, and Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich on the mystical birth of Jesus Christ. – Ed.

 

After reciting some prayers together with Mary, St. Joseph filled the manger with straw and moss and placed a cloth over it. Then he withdrew to the entrance of the cave. Looking back, he saw the holy Mother of God praying on her knees, surrounded by flames of dazzling supernatural light. Filled with reverent fear, he threw himself down on the ground and was soon rapt in an ecstatic sleep.

Mary was kneeling, with her eyes raised to Heaven and her hands joined on her breast. Her countenance emitted rays of light, like the sun incarnadined, and shone in indescribable earnestness and majesty, all inflamed with burning love of God. Her body became so spiritualized with the beauty of Heaven that she seemed no more a human and earthly creature.

Toward midnight a channel of brilliant light came down from the highest heaven and terminated in sparkling fire at the Blessed Virgin. In it was an extraordinary movement of celestial glories which took on the forms of choirs of angels.

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the infant God was born, glorious and transfigured as on Mount Tabor.

There the God-Man lay, naked, utterly clean and pure. And from Him radiated such marvelous light and splendor that the sun could not be compared to it. The angels could be heard gently singing canticles of wonderful sweetness.

When the holy Mother of God perceived that she had been delivered—for her child came forth without any pain or injury to her—she immediately bowed her head, placed a cloth over His tiny body, and adored Him with the greatest respect and reverence, saying:

“Welcome, my God, and my Lord, and my Son!”

Then the divine Child suspended the effects of His transfiguration and assumed the appearance of one capable of suffering. The Babe now moved, shivered with cold, and stretching forth His little arms, cried out.

Bending down, Mary tenderly clasped Him to her heart and with great joy warmed Him against her cheek and breast, while thousands of angels knelt and adored their incarnate Creator.

Nearly an hour after the birth, Mary called St. Joseph. Awakening and coming near, he perceived his Savior in her arms and at once prostrated himself on the ground with the deepest devotion and humility. Only at her bidding did he rise. And with touching joy and gratitude he kissed the Babe’s feet, and held the little Jesus in his arms, pressing Him to his heart, while tears of happiness moistened his cheeks.

Then, sitting on the ground, Mary laid her Son in her lap, and while St. Joseph handed her the linens, she began carefully and lovingly to wrap the divine Child in swaddling clothes, drawing them tight on His small body.

Next she and Joseph gently placed the Infant in the manger.

At this point an ox from the neighboring fields entered the cave with the ass. They both approached the crib, knelt down before it, and breathed over it, as if to warm the Baby.

Mary and Joseph were so affected by this act that they could not restrain their tears.

For a long time they remained on their knees beside the crib, adoring the Christ Child and praising and thanking God. Later St. Joseph took some blankets and made a resting place for Mary beside the manger.

The Adoration of the Shepherds

At the Holy Hour of the Nativity of the Savior, an extraordinary wave of rejoicing was manifest in Nature in many parts of the world. Many animals leaped with exultation. Flowers raised their faded stems. Plants and trees took on new life and gave forth sweet scents. A number of new springs flowed abundantly.

The thrilling and consoling news of the birth of the Messiah was immediately announced by the holy angels to a small number of chosen souls. The Archangel Michael brought it to the patriarchs and prophets in Limbo, as well as to St. Ann and St. Joachim, and they all rejoiced together. Another angel informed St. Elizabeth and her baby St. John, who clearly expressed his joy by waving his little arms. His mother at once sent one of her servants to Bethlehem with some money and linen for Mary. The mystery of the Savior’s birth was revealed to the holy old priest Simeon and to Anna, Mary’s former teacher, in the Temple in Jerusalem. In the Orient each of the three Magi was enlightened by angels concerning the Incarnation of the Redeemer of mankind, which they had long expected, and perceiving the mystic star, they set out on their pilgrimage to the Crib of the newborn King of kings. All good men everywhere felt a new supernatural joy at this time, and many of them believed that the Savior had at last come into the world.

But of all the human race those who merited to be the first to see the Christ Child were the poor, humble, and devout shepherds of Bethlehem. During this holy night, three of their leaders, while watching over their flocks in the fields about a mile from the grotto of the Nativity, noticed with amazement a strange, luminous cloud hovering above the hill in which the cave and manger were located. And as they were staring up at the sky, all of a sudden a bright light came down toward them, bathing them in its celestial radiance. Then within the light they perceived the splendid Archangel Gabriel in human form, and at first these simple men were filled with intense fear, until Gabriel said to them reassuringly:

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. For there has been born to you today in the town of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

While he was speaking, the radiance around him became still brighter, revealing seven other great angels of extraordinary beauty and then a whole multitude of the heavenly host, all praising God and chanting in sweet harmony, to a soft and joyful melody:

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace to Men of Good Will!”

After singing this lovely canticle, the angels went to two other groups of shepherds at some distance and brought them the same wonderful news. And these good men said to one another eagerly:

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us!”

But first they thoughtfully set about collecting suitable presents.

Only toward dawn did they find the grotto-stable and knock timidly at its entrance. St. Joseph very obligingly opened the door and welcomed them. They told him what the angels had announced to them during the night, and they said that they had come to offer their gifts and veneration to the divine Child. At the same time they gave St. Joseph a number of young goats and chickens, which he accepted with humble gratitude and placed in a side room off the stable.

Then he led the shepherds into the grotto, where the Blessed Mother of God was sitting on the ground beside the crib in which the beautiful Babe of Bethlehem was lying. And as they gazed down at the tiny Jesus, He looked up at them, and from His radiant little face and eyes a mystical current of divine love streamed forth and touched the sincere hearts of those poor but fortunate men, changing and renewing them spiritually and filling them with a new grace and understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation and of the Redemption. “And when they had seen, they understood what had been told them concerning this Child.” Still holding their shepherd’s staffs in their hands, they very humbly knelt down before the Infant Jesus and prostrated themselves on the ground, weeping tears of joy as they adored their God. For a long time they were so deeply moved with supernatural happiness that they could not say a word. Finally they began to sing together the words and melody which the angel had taught them.

Meanwhile the lovely Mother of God modestly observed all that they did and felt, for she also saw into their inmost hearts. And when they had finished singing their beautiful hymn, she spoke to them, urging them to persevere in the love and service of the Lord. They stayed in the cave from dawn until noon, when Mary graciously gave them something to eat. As they were about to leave, she allowed each of them in turn to hold the divine Babe for a moment, and each one, as he reverently gave the Child back to her, wept tears of sweet joy and gratitude. Then they left, filled with heavenly consolation and understanding, “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken to them.”

“But Mary kept in mind all these words, pondering them in her heart.”

“And all who heard marveled at the things, told them by the shepherds.” The following day the latter returned with their wives and children, bringing gifts of eggs and honey and cloth. The men helped St. Joseph to make the grotto somewhat more habitable, and some devout women who had known him as a boy in Bethlehem brought firewood and did some cooking and washing for the Holy Family.

Once during these happy days after the Nativity, while Mary and Joseph were alone, absorbed in contemplating the Christ Child, their donkey came into the stable and suddenly knelt down on its forelegs and bowed its head to the ground before the Babe in the crib.

Most of the time the loving Mother of God held her divine Son in her arms. Whenever she took Him up, she first made three genuflections and humbly kissed the ground before kneeling at the crib and touching the tiny Jesus. And when she thought that she should nurse Him, she first asked His permission. All her angels remained present and visible to her until the Flight into Egypt, and on rare occasions she gave her Baby into the hands of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael. She would not sleep except when the Lord Himself commanded her to do so. With her angels and with St. Joseph, she often composed and sang beautiful hymns in honor of the holy Child. And she often gave her good husband the intense pleasure of hearing her refer to Jesus as “our Son.”

Many times in caressing her beloved Son, she humbly kissed His feet, and she always asked His consent before kissing His sacred face. And often He returned her affection by putting His little arms around her neck.

At such times Mary said to Him:

“O my Love, sweet Life of my soul, who art Thou, and who am I? What return shall I make for the great things which Thou hast done to me?”

Speaking of the Nativity the Mother of God Said to St. Bridget of Sweden:

“And when I gave birth to Him, I brought Him forth without pain, just as I had also conceived Him with such great joy of soul and body that in my rapture my feet did not feel the ground on which they were standing. And as He had filled my soul with happiness on entering my body, so did He again come forth in such a way that my whole body and soul exulted with indescribable joy and in such a way that my virginity was not impaired.

How overwhelmed I was when I perceived and gazed at His beauty, and when I realized that I was not worthy of such a Son. And then, too, when I looked at the places where the nails would be driven into His hands and feet, how my eyes filled with tears and how my heart was torn with grief. And when my Son saw the tears in my eyes, He was sad unto death.

But then, when I contemplated the power of His Divinity, I regained confidence, for I knew that it was His will and that it would be for the good, and I made my whole will conform to His.

Thus my happiness was ever mixed with sorrow.”

And to Bl. Mother Mary of Agreda She Said:

“Who would be so hardened as not to be moved to tenderness at the sight of their God become man, humiliated in poverty, despised, unknown, entering the world in a cave, lying on a manger surrounded by brute animals, protected only by a poverty-stricken Mother, and cast off by the foolish arrogance of the world? Who will dare to love the vanity and pride which was openly scorned and condemned by the Creator of Heaven and earth in His actions? No one should despise the humility, poverty and indigence which the Lord loved and chose for Himself as the very means of teaching the Way of Eternal Life. Few there are who stop to consider this truth and this example, and as a result of this rank ingratitude only the few reap the fruit of these great mysteries.”

 

The late Raphael Brown was a well known author and secular Franciscan who wrote and translated many Catholic and Franciscan Works. The above article is an excerpt from his book, The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics, Tan, 1991.

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On the occasion of the Feast of the Birth of Mary, we publish the following account of Our Lady’s nativity as found in the mystical tradition, and compiled by Raphael Brown. – Ed.

After God had created Mary’s immaculate soul, He showed it to the choirs of angels in Heaven, and they felt intense joy upon seeing its unique beauty.

Then, as Mary’s soul was infused into her body, her holy mother St. Ann was filled with the Holy Ghost and experienced an extraordinary devotion and happiness. Throughout the rest of her life and especially during the next nine months, she constantly received new graces and enlightenment concerning the great mystery of the Incarnation, and she frequently praised the Lord in canticles of love.

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When Mary’s soul left her body, the soft chanting of the angels seemed to withdraw slowly from the Cenacle. Peter and John must have perceived the glory of her soul in this moment of its liberation, for they both looked up, while the other apostles remained absorbed in prayer, with their heads bowed to the ground.

The Blessed Virgin’s body lay radiant with light, surrounded by her thousand invisible guardian angels. Her eyes were closed, and her hands were folded on her breast.

When at last all the apostles, disciples, and holy women present realized that their beloved spiritual Mother had indeed left them, their sorrow was so intense that only a special dispensation of divine power prevented some of them from dying of grief.

For some time they prayed and wept silently. Then they arose and sang a number of hymns in honor of their departed Queen.

Later Mary’s two devoted servant girls were told to anoint and wrap her body in a shroud with the greatest reverence and modesty. But when they entered her room, they were so blinded by the dazzling mystical light surrounding her couch that they could not even see her body. Highly excited, they hastened to notify the apostles. Peter and John then went into the room, perceived the bright light, and heard angels singing: “A Virgin before the Nativity, during the Nativity, and after the Nativity.” Kneeling down and praying for guidance, the two saints heard a Voice say: “Let not this virginal body be touched!”

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In celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday, we present this account from the Church’s mystical tradition of Our Lord’s Resurrection, and his appearance to Our Lady, who had patiently waited, prayed and guided the apostles and holy women after the horrific events of Good Friday. – Ed.

The sun had already set when the Blessed Virgin, St. John and the Holy Women returned to the Cenacle in Jerusalem late on the afternoon of Good Friday.

Going into the hall in which they had attended the Last Supper on the previous evening, the Mother of God thanked John and her companions for having remained with her throughout the Passion of her Son, and in His name she promised them a special reward for having been so faithful. She also offered herself as a lifelong servant and friend to all the women.

They acknowledged this favor by kissing her hands and asking for her blessing, which she gave them. Then they begged her to take some rest and food, but Mary replied:

“My rest and consolation shall be to see my Son and Lord arisen from the dead. Yet you, my dear friends, must satisfy your needs, while I retire alone with my son John.”

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In honor of the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we present this account of Our Lady’s infancy and Presentation in the Temple, compiled by Raphael Brown from the rich mystical tradition of the Church. – Ed.

Eight days after Mary’s birth, all the friends and relatives of the family gathered in St. Joachim’s house for the ceremony of naming the baby. According to custom, the mother could not attend the celebration, but remained in her room. Several priests came from Nazareth, and St. Joachim placed his daughter in the hands of their richly robed leader, who lifted her up as if offering her to the Lord, and recited some prayers. Then he wrote the name Mary on a parchment and placed it on her chest. After the singing of some psalms, the ceremony was over and Mary was taken back to St. Ann, while all the guests sat around a long low table and were served a banquet meal.

Later, St. Ann and St. Joachim took Mary to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of the purification of the mother. St. Ann humbly gave her offerings of a lamb and a turtledove, and prayed to the Lord to forgive her all her faults. Then, entering the Temple with her daughter in her arms, she offered up Mary to God with devout and tender tears. In her heart she heard a voice urging her to renew her vow to give Mary to God’s service in the Temple within three years.

 

Read more: The Infancy and Presentation of Mary in the Temple According to the Mystical Tradition

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The following is an excerpt from The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics compiled by Raphael Brown. – Asst. Ed.

AT THIS TIME, although he was not very old, St. Joseph was worn out in strength and health after twenty years of hard work for his family, and the Lord now ordained that he was to spend his last eight years of life in illness and suffering, in order to increase his sanctity through the practice of patience and resignation. Mary therefore lovingly persuaded him to give up his work, which Jesus had been helping him to perform, often miraculously making it easier for him.
Now Mary gladly volunteered to support the family, as she had done in Egypt, by spinning and weaving linen and wool, with the help of a good and loyal woman friend. Consequently she often spent the greater part of the night at work, although Jesus sometimes enabled her to accomplish a great, deal in a short time.
During his last years St. Joseph suffered a series of fevers, violent headaches and a very painful rheumatism which made him weak and helpless. As Mary observed how he bore all his sufferings with humble patience and supernatural love, her affection and admiration for him increased every day, and she joyfully labored for his support and comfort. His greatest consolation was that she should prepare and serve his meals herself, and she often made special efforts to get him choice foods. She would often take off his shoes for him and support him with her arms and console him with kind and inspiring words.

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Editorial note: The following description of the life of Saint Joachim and Saint Ann comes from a compilation by the author based on the mystical revelations of Saint Elizabeth of Schoenau, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Venerable Mary of Agreda. Although this compilation by author Raphael Brown adds nothing essential to the Depositum Fidei as contained in Scripture, Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium, they nonetheless provide valuable insights which can nourish the faith and devotion of the People of God. – Ed.

Before time began, the Holy Trinity decreed that one day, after the creation of the world and of man and after man’s fall, God the Son was to be born of a Virgin Mother. In order that this Mother should be the purest human being who ever lived, Almighty God decreed that she was to be miraculously exempt from all stain of Original Sin.

And as a fitting preparation for the Incarnation of the God-Man among men, the Blessed Trinity also planned to train a chosen people to serve and to worship the Lord faithfully in the religion which He Himself revealed to them through their patriarchs and prophets. Thus He taught them to purify their hearts by leading a decent and holy daily life, and to pray for the coming of the Messiah or Savior that He promised to send them as their King.

In the course of time, however, most of the Chosen People of Israel were unfaithful to God in many ways. And as they became more and more materialistic, they imagined that the Messiah would appear as a great ruler who would free them by political power from their oppressors, the Romans. But some of the Israelites continued to love and to serve the Lord in humility and detachment from the world, for they knew that the Savior would come to free men from the oppressor within their own hearts.



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On the day after the Annunciation Mary’s many guardian angels appeared before her visibly, and with deep humility they adored their incarnate King in His Mother’s womb, saying to her: “Now, O Lady, thou art the true Ark of the Testament. We wish to obey thee as servants of the supreme Lord whose Mother thou art.” And indeed when Mary was alone, they helped her in her household work, and whenever she ate alone they served her the modest meals which she took at her poor table.

[…]

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After the departure of the Magi, the Mother of God said to St. Joseph:

“My master, dispose of all the offerings of the Kings as belonging to my Son and to yourself—I deserve nothing.” Together they divided the gifts into three parts: one for the Temple (the incense and myrrh and some of the gold), another for the priest who had circumcised the Child, and the rest for the poor.

A devout woman whom Mary had helped urged the Holy Family to move into her modest home, and they humbly accepted her invitation. Sadly they took leave of the holy stable, after cleaning it thoroughly.

During the days that remained before the Purification, when alone with His beloved Mother, the Infant Jesus often murmured to her:

“My Dove, My Chosen One, My dearest Mother, make thyself like unto Me!” […]

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In celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday, we present this account from the Church’s mystical tradition of Our Lord’s Resurrection, and his appearance to Our Lady, who had patiently waited, prayed and guided the apostles and holy women after the horrific events of Good Friday. – Asst. Ed.

The sun had already set when the Blessed Virgin, St. John and the Holy Women returned to the Cenacle in Jerusalem late on the afternoon of Good Friday.

Going into the hall in which they had attended the Last Supper on the previous evening, the Mother of God thanked John and her companions for having remained with her throughout the Passion of her Son, and in His name she promised them a special reward for having been so faithful. She also offered herself as a lifelong servant and friend to all the women.

They acknowledged this favor by kissing her hands and asking for her blessing, which she gave them. Then they begged her to take some rest and food, but Mary replied: […]

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In honor of the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, we here provide this description of the Presentation, compiled by Raphael Brown from some of the Church’s greatest mystics. – Ed.

When the fortieth day after the Nativity drew near, the Immaculate Mother of God did not hesitate to subject herself to the general Hebrew law requiring the purification of mothers and the presentation of first-born sons in the Temple at Jerusalem. For she saw in the soul of her divine Son that He wished to offer Himself as a living victim to the eternal Father in the Temple.

Consequently Mary and Joseph gratefully took leave of the good woman who had sheltered them, and went with Jesus to the cave of the Nativity for a last visit. Having gently placed the Christ Child on the ground at the very spot where He was born, they both knelt and prayed fervently together, and they did the same where He had been circumcised.

Then, as usual before a journey, Mary asked her husband for his blessing, and on this special occasion for his permission to make the trip on foot and with bare feet. But St. Joseph replied kindly yet firmly: […]

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Editorial note: The following description of the life of Saint Joachim and Saint Ann comes from a compilation by the author based on the mystical revelations of Saint Elizabeth of Schoenau, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Venerable Mary of Agreda. Although this compilation by author Raphael Brown adds nothing essential to the Depositum Fidei as contained in Scripture, Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium, they nonetheless provide valuable insights which can nourish the faith and devotion of the People of God. – Ed.

Before time began, the Holy Trinity decreed that one day, after the creation of the world and of man and after man’s fall, God the Son was to be born of a Virgin Mother. In order that this Mother should be the purest human being who ever lived, Almighty God decreed that she was to be miraculously exempt from all stain of Original Sin.

And as a fitting preparation for the Incarnation of the God-Man among men, the Blessed Trinity also planned to train a chosen people to serve and to worship the Lord faithfully in the religion which He Himself revealed to them through their patriarchs and prophets. Thus He taught them to purify their hearts by leading a decent and holy daily life, and to pray for the coming of the Messiah or Savior that He promised to send them as their King. […]

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