The presentation of Jesus in the temple should have been a joyful time for his parents. But St. Alphonsus points out that the joy became sorrow when St. Simeon revealed the Child’s future.
In this valley of tears, every man is born to weep, and all must suffer, by enduring the evils that take place every day. But how much greater would be the misery of life, if we also knew the future evils that await us! “Unfortu- nate, indeed, would be the situation of someone who knows the future,” says the pagan Roman philosopher Seneca; “he would have to suffer everything by anticipation.” Our Lord shows us this mercy. He conceals the trials that await us so that, whatever they may be, we may endure them only once. But he didn’t show Mary this compassion.
God willed her to be the Queen of Sorrows, and in all things like his Son. So she always had to see before her eyes, and continually to suffer, all the torments that awaited her. And these were the sufferings of the passion and death of her beloved Jesus.
For in the temple, St. Simeon, having received the divine Child in his arms, foretold to her that her Son would be a sign for all the persecutions and opposi- tions of men. “Simeon blessed them and said to his mother, “Behold, this Child is set . . . for a sign that is contradicted (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (see Lk 2:34–35).
The Blessed Virgin herself told St. Matilda that, at this prophecy of St. Simeon, “all her joy was changed into sorrow.” Jesus our King and his most holy mother didn’t refuse, for love of us, to suffer such cruel pains throughout their lives. So it’s reasonable that we, at least, should not complain if we have to suffer something.
—St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Am I grateful to God that he doesn’t reveal the future to me? Do I recognize that it’s a grace to live by Jesus’ words, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious about itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day”? (See Mt 6:34.)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my anxious thoughts! And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (See Ps 139:23–24.)