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February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.Zenit:
Forty days after his birth the Law of Moses required Mary to go to the temple and take part in the ritual for purification. This was also the day Mary and Joseph formally introduced Jesus to the House of God.
In 1997 Pope John Paul II also made February 2nd the World Day for Consecrated Life. This day focuses on members of secular institutes, movements and personal prelatures, as well as members of Societies of Apostolic life. These people have taken vows and effectively set themselves apart for God, that He may use them to do His will in the world and in the Church.
Every year Pope Benedict celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord with the members of Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to remind us that just as Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord, those who are consecrated have also presented themselves to the Lord. This day serves as a day for them to once again re-affirm their response to God’s call to set themselves apart for His will.
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today recalled the three aims for the Church's annual celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life, noting the day is address to God, the faithful, and consecrated persons themselves.
Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, was designated by Pope John Paul II as the World Day of Consecrated Life. This year, the 14th world day is being celebrated.
Benedict XVI recalled during his vespers homily that the "purpose of this day is threefold: first of all to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; in the second place, to promote the knowledge and appreciation by all the People of God; finally, to invite all those who have fully dedicated their life to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels that the Lord has operated in them."
Offering a commentary on the liturgical text from the Letter to the Hebrews, the Holy Father said: "If Christ was not truly God, and was not, at the same time, fully man, the foundation of Christian life as such would come to naught, and in an altogether particular way, the foundation of every Christian consecration of man and woman would come to naught."
He reflected how consecrated life expresses the "reciprocal seeking of God and man, the love that attracts them to one another."
The Pontiff went on to note the emphasis on trust in the verses from Hebrews.
He said consecrated persons have "approached with full trust the 'throne of grace' that is Christ, his Cross, his Heart, to his divine presence in the Eucharist. Each one of you has approached him as the source of pure and faithful love, a love so great and beautiful as to merit all, in fact, more than our all, because a whole life is not enough to return what Christ is and what he has done for us."
The Bishop of Rome expressed his wish "to raise to the Lord a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for consecrated life itself."
"If it did not exist," he said, "how much poorer the world would be! Beyond the superficial valuations of functionality, consecrated life is important precisely for its being a sign of gratuitousness and of love, and this all the more so in a society that risks being suffocated in the vortex of the ephemeral and the useful.
"Consecrated life, instead, witnesses to the superabundance of the Lord's love, who first 'lost' his life for us."
"Full of trust and gratitude," Benedict XVI said, "let us then also renew the gesture of the total offering of ourselves, presenting ourselves in the Temple. [...]
"Let us carry out this interior gesture in profound spiritual communion with the Virgin Mary: While contemplating her in the act of presenting the Child Jesus in the Temple, we venerate her as the first and perfect consecrated one, carried by that God she carries in her arms; Virgin, poor and obedient, totally dedicated to us because totally of God.
"In her school, and with her maternal help, we renew our 'here I am' and our 'fiat.'"
Presentation of the Lord in the Temple:
Read more about this feast here, here and here.
The Prayer of Magnificat:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
for he has looked with favor on his lowly
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm;
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.