The Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus at the Temple and Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can have a vibrant devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can examine his conscience and be cleansed in the Sacrament of Penance.
Christmastime – 5th Day in the Octave – December 29 – Lk 2:22-35
God selected holy and observant Jews to be the parents of His Son. St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary presented Jesus for circumcision and naming eight days after the Nativity. They now fulfill their next religious obligation: the purification after-birth rituals (Lev 12) for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the ceremonial presentation of their first born son at the Temple forty days after birth (Ex 13:11-16). Even though the Blessed Virgin Mary is Immaculate and remains miraculously a virgin, even after the birth of Jesus, she nevertheless presents herself for purification to fulfill the Law and avoid scandal. The presentation of Jesus at the Temple, fulfills the obligation for a Jewish first-born male, consecrating Him to the Lord. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph’s offering of two small birds, meets the requirements of the poor; Jesus is counted among the poor He comes to save.
Simeon, a devout old man, has long waited for God’s promise that he would see Israel’s salvation; the sight of Jesus fulfills God’s promise to Simeon and he is moved to prophesize. Simeon’s hymn, called the Nunc Dimittis (Latin, “now dismissed”), confirms Simeon may die in peace and joy, knowing Israel’s promised salvation has come. Beyond Simeon’s comprehension, he is given the profound blessing of holding God in his arms.
Simeon’s prophecy is a bittersweet consolation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. Simeon reveals Jesus’ mission of salvation to the world, and he blesses the couple, giving the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph joy. But Simeon also reveals the coming Judgment Jesus will bring upon the people and that the Blessed Virgin Mary will suffer deep sorrow (“a sword will pierce through your own soul”), causing the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph sadness. Simeon, an instrument of God’s grace, prepares and strengthens the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph for their coming trials.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
St. Joseph, created by God to be the most virtuous of men to raise His Son, was responsible as the head of the Holy Family to fulfill all requirements of Jewish Law. Marvel at how even at His earliest age, the Son of Joseph is the perfection of the virtues of Veneration and Religion (a part of Justice) through the fulfillment of the ritual requirements of Jewish Law.
Seek St. Joseph’s help to become a better Catholic father
Realize: In Jesus’ Presentation at the Temple (CCC 529) and in all other ways, Joseph and Mary perfectly kept the requirements of the Jewish Law, raising Jesus to be a devout Jew who perfectly fulfilled all the duties of a Jewish man.
Believe: Reflect upon the essential Duties of Catholic Fathers (CCC 5, 1653, 1656, 2221-2231, 2688).
Pray: St. Joseph, pray that I can build the Virtue of Duty/Responsibility (a part of Justice) so I can better imitate you and I accept and fulfill my sacred duties to be a Catholic father who draws many to your Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Catholic Church.
Be blessed in the Sacrament of Penance
Realize: Simeon prophesizes that Jesus will be the cause of, “the fall and rising of many”; this includes every Catholic man.
Believe: Reflect upon the need for a regular Examination of Conscience (CCC 1454).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so I am guided by You to more fully recognize and confess my sins, I joyously and often receive the Sacrament of Penance, and I am continually guided by You in my slow but steady ascent towards sainthood and Heaven.