Words from our Principal
Dear Families and Friends of Lumen,
The Feast of Christ the King this past Sunday was followed by Monday’s Feast of the Presentation of Mary. According to Church tradition, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, were – after years of barrenness – so grateful for Mary’s birth that they offered her to God when she was three years old by sending her to live in the Temple, where she remained until she was twelve and betrothed to Joseph. Anne and Joachim’s gesture is in imitation of the Old Testament Hannah (another spelling of “Anna” or “Anne”), who similarly wept over her barrenness and prayed to conceive a child. When she eventually became pregnant with the prophet Samuel, she too offered her son to Eli at the age of two or three, and her words of thanksgiving – “My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted by my God!” (1 Samuel 2: 1) – would be echoed by Mary’s Magnificat (“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior!”). Samuel would go on to be the prophet who anointed King David.
The first time I read the story of Hannah as a mother myself, I was startled: she prays for years for a child, and when she finally gets one, she just offers him back to God two years later – essentially never seeing him again? Yet I realized that the very fact that I was taken aback by Hannah’s actions revealed how far I am from a truly biblical worldview. In our current culture, gifts are treated somewhat selfishly – what is it that I want for my personal use? (Unfortunately, we’ve also seen how this attitude permeates our society’s approach to children – we want to have them on our terms for our personal fulfillment, rather than accepting them as gifts from God!)
How different this is from the attitude of Hannah, of Joachim and Anne, and of Mary herself, who gave her Child back to God the Father in the most profound way possible. For them, they longed for the gift of children – precisely so that they could offer the gift of their children back to the Lord. Gifts were not a matter of what they wanted to possess for themselves; rather, they prayed for gifts so that they could put those gifts into the service of God and the world.
It’s appropriate, then, that the Feast of the Presentation of Mary follows the Feast of Christ the King. Anne and Joachim presented Mary to God out of recognition of God’s Kingship – acknowledging that they had received Mary as a gift from their generous King, and offering her back to Him in gratitude. As we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, and enter into the season of gift-giving this Advent, let’s pray to be infused with the attitude of Hannah, of Joachim and Anne, and of Mary: asking for gifts not out of selfishness or greed, but in humble gratitude and awareness that all gifts we receive have their origin in God who is our Lord and King, and with a genuine longing to use any gifts we receive to serve God in turn.
May God bless you and your families with a beautiful Thanksgiving. We’ll look forward to seeing everyone next week!
Pax et bonum,
Recent Field Trips
On a recent school trip to the Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth, MA