2. The Sacrifice of Mary.
But above all the temple is the place of sacrifice par excellence. Mary goes there to offer to God the most beautiful, the most painful of Her sacrifices.
According to the Law, all the first-born were to be offered to the Lord and then had to be ransomed by payment of five sickles of silver.
Jesus and Mary do not hold themselves exempt from this Law but submit to its exact fulfillment. Jesus is offered up to His Eternal father and is then ransomed by His Mother. Such is the sublime simplicity of this mystery. But it is all a mystery of sacrifice. Never forget: sacrifice and Jesus are inseparable. The Child offers Himself voluntarily to His Father as a victim of expiation, repeating on that occasion the words of the psalm: The holocausts of animals are no longer pleasing to Thee. So behold I came. Here I am.
But this sacrifice was not His alone. His Mother also is there. She offers the Divine Child, a sacrifice to the eternal Father.
Recall the sacrifice of Abraham ready to immolate his son to fulfill the Holy Will of God. Some say that this order was given to the father and not to the mother because the latter would have been incapable of performing such sacrifice. But now it is the Mother who fully conscious and well aware of what She is doing, fully understanding the meaning and depth of the ceremony, offers Her Son as a sacrifice, later to be consummated. This is the self same offertory of the First mass said by Christ on the Cross. On the day of His passion and death how many times would not Mary recall the far-off day of the Child's presentation!
The Eternal Father was well pleased to accept the offering and was not content as in the case of Abraham with a mere intention. He demanded its exact fulfillment to the very end. How great was the generosity and the love of Mary and of Jesus!
Thank them for this offering since it is to them that we owe our salvation. Any you also readily offer yourself up for any sacrifice, whatever it may be. Offer yourself up as a victim of expiation and love, and rejoice if God, pleased to receive your offering, accepts your immolation. Both in promising as well as in fulfilling be generous in your promises to Jesus and Mary.
[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]