Presentation Day is happily approaching (the 21st November each year). An important date for Presentation people everywhere. Not just a day to celebrate, but so much more.
In the course of Presentation Life jubilee celebrations are truly a moment to share great happiness (jubilate deo) and to celebrate a very particular journey both individually and as community. These are both elements that are beautifully and visibly intertwined. A confirmation perhaps, that in a life lived fully, they were never meant to be separate entities.
This Giotto painting depicts how Mary, on her presentation in the Temple is surrounded by a diverse community of persons supporting her. Throughout her life, Mary’s experience of, and contribution to the daily living out of life with Jesus, was never too far removed from the community around her, responding to their needs as Jesus did.
Nano Nagle did likewise, and her legacy continues to find expression through Presentation people wherever they are, responding to this dynamic and evolving Presentation charism that is for our times, and all times.
I was very blessed to be present at a jubilee celebration some time ago – a joyful and generous sharing in a ‘Presentation journey’ with all the authentic responsiveness to personal, cultural, and societal change and need that this represents throughout life.
It has led me to understand more fully why each year Presentation Day is for Presentation people everywhere such a vital moment of recollection, contemplation, thankfulness and real celebration.
We know from the annals of South Presentation, Cork that Nano Nagle and her Sisters celebrated the Feast Day of the Presentation of Mary. We know too, that Nano’s devotion to the Mother of God under the title of her ‘Presentation in the Temple’ was one that she treasured.
Let us treasure it too, beyond the day it is, and with thanksgiving for all the ‘life’ we see around us daily, that is an expression of it.
Mary, God-Bearer to a World in Need
As a mystic called to God,
she agreed to dedicate her whole being to God’s plan.
In her discipleship she is prepared and illumined with the Son’s presence.
At the end of her life, she is transferred to heaven to be one with her son,
a unity that all Christians are called to experience.
As a prophet, her life speaks the joyful life of living with Christ.
Her way was quiet, but always seeking to say ‘yes’ to God.
We can see that she opened her heart to God’s way, even when she was frightened.
She is the mother, who was meant to nurture the body of her son in the world as a mother.
She is daughter of Zion, a mystical prophet who can hardly be described, while at the same time she is a very earthly mother.
Mary, as mother, mystic and prophet, demonstrates for Christians all the fruits given by God which provide true joy!
(Extract from Chapter 1: ‘Mary, God-Bearer to a World in Need’, edited by Maureen Hearden and Virginia M. Kimball).
In the book ‘Nano Nagle and An Evolving Charism’, Anne O’Leary, pbvm writing about the Presentation of Mary said:
“To conclude, we might say, that contemplated variously in word, art, prayer or liturgy – or selected as a study text for inter-religious or inter-faith dialogue – the account of Mary’s presentation in the Temple can serve as a powerful reminder, that service to others, in whatever form, finds its origin and end in the contemplation of God. Nano Nagle knew the fruitfulness of this correlation – prayer and service”. ~ Anne M. O’Leary, pbvm – (pages 127 to 137)