by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Today is the beautiful feast of Our Lady, in which we commemorate the day wherein the Holy Spirit inspired the future Mother of God to consecrate herself to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as a Temple virgin. Today’s feast is one of the oldest in the Church and has been especially commemorated in Monasteries and Convents from the beginning of the Christian era, since it points the way for all Christians in the observance of Christ’s counsel to be chase and pure for the Kingdom of Heaven.
As a Franciscan Brother, I encourage all to consider adoring the Divine Majesty of the Father, and Son and Holy Spirit, by taking a vow of virginity, if you are single, and living solely and purely for the love of Jesus Christ and in service of extending His Kingdom on Earth.
There is no life more beautiful, wholesome, rewarding, and blessed. I thank God that He inspired me to this when I was still a youth. It has been a guiding light for me ever since.
The evangelical counsel to chastity was taught by Jesus Christ to liberate us from the carnal mentality which thinks being a human is living as an animal, and causes all to remember that we have an immortal soul whose destiny transcends the desires of the flesh. It also reminds us that the adoration of God must be chiefly motivated by a personal love and that God’s gave us everything, not for its own sake, but so that in gratitude we might put aside all things and render our complete worship and loyalty to This Generous Creator.
You can find Christ’s teaching about this, addressed to men, in Matthew 19:12 (understanding that by “eunuchs” Christ is referring to men of self control, not to men who were slaved and were mutilated).
Being a virgin is a great way to imitate Jesus Christ, who was a Virgin for our sake, to point us to Heaven and lead us out of the enslaving disordered lives of sin and lust.
Today’s Feast teaches us to remember also many important truths, such as:
- That children can have strong faith and make decisions for life which are inspired by God.
- That those who are especially dedicated to God are considered His special friends.
- That God speaks to those who are pure of heart.
- That God considers children and adults as equals before His Throne of Grace.
- That the adoration of God extends beyond liturgical rules and observances, into our personal life and our most intimate possessions, of body and soul.
- That the religion of the ancient Hebrews before the coming of Christ was good, holy and especially blessed by God.
- That there is a continuity not a rupture between Christianity and the religion God instructed Moses to teach to His people, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In the image above, the child Mary is depicted ascending the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem about the year 15 B. C.. She would remain there until she espoused St. Joseph of Nazareth, in January of 2 B. C.