Think about a person, situation, or a material item that you have or own that you prayed for with great fervor. Name the blessing aloud. What emotions come up when you contemplate this blessing?
Now imagine that an altar is in front of you. Facing the altar, you place your dearly loved person/situation/item on it and pray in thanksgiving to God Who in His generosity has given you such an immense gift. Now it’s time to leave.
What happens next? Do you quickly pick up your beloved possession and take it with you? Do you leave the offering on the altar but linger for some time before apprehensively walking away backwards so as to stay within eye sight? Or do you turn around and walk away, praising God for what He gave you?
Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a traditional feast for Our Lady. It reminds us that everything we have is a gift from God that belongs to God.
Tradition shares that Saint Joachim and Saint Anne longed and lamented for children but were unable to conceive. They prayed for many years and in their advanced age, God answered their prayers! Mary, their daughter, was in their midst!
What makes this all the more extraordinary is that Joachim and Anne never lost sight of the fact that God was always in their midst. In sorrow and grief they took their mourning to the Lord; and in joy and elation they brought Mary to Him. They presented their daughter, their cherished blessing, their long-awaited gift back to the Lord as an offering for His most gracious generosity.
Sometimes, in our absolute love for what we have received from God, we forget that everything—our families, health, relationships, jobs—everything is His. It can be a little scary when we offer our cherished blessing to God, but He is not careless with what we deem precious. Rather, when we present our gifts as an offering, He strengthens our faith in His omnipotence and gives us the grace to trust Him.
Do you trust God with the gift that is on your altar?
A few surprising details about this feast day can be found here.
Chika Anyanwu is a Catholic evangelist based in Southern California and is also the author of My Encounter: How I Met Jesus In Prayer. She has a deep love for Jesus, loves her beautiful Nigerian family, and is a firm believer that if coffee is good, there’s no need for cream or sugar. Find out more here.