January 27th

The Days of Purification

During the forty days that followed on childbirth, Jewish women were regarded as impure; they were not allowed to enter the Temple, or to touch things holy, but had to live in seclusion at home. Was Mary subject to this law? Was she in any sense impure through her having brought forth the Divine Son of God? On the contrary. He consecrated and increased her spotless purity by dwelling in her immaculate womb. She was made more holy, more glorious than ever, by the fact of her bringing into the world the King of Heaven and earth.

Why then did Mary undergo the time of Purification? It seems almost to imply that she was impure, like all the other daughters of Eve. Yet Mary submitted to it, out of love of the laws that God had laid down for His people. Each detail of the ordinances and customs prescribed with Divine sanction was dear to her, and she rejoiced to obey.

Mary had another reason for submitting herself to the humiliating seclusion. Anything that lowered her in the eyes of men was a source of heartfelt joy to her. Her humility delighted in anything that served to hide her high privileges from the eyes of those around her. How different am I, who am anxious to conceal all that lowers me in the eyes of others, and to make known whatever I think will exalt me before them. O Mary, pray for me, that I may have more of thy spirit of true humility!

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