Presentation of the Virgin and E Pluribus Unum

Carpacio Presentation of the Virgin

Saints Joachim and Ann knew that they had a lovely daughter, the offspring of their flesh, a young lass of our human stock.

We, too, know some sweet young ladies, I am sure–of seven, or ten, or twelve. We know how reassuringly human they are, and playful, and funny. We cannot doubt that our Lady had those qualities, when she was a girl.

But Joachim and Ann, attuned as they themselves were to the interior life of prayer—they knew also that their daughter had an altogether unique and wonderful interiority.

In the gospel reading at today’s Holy Mass, we read how the Lord Jesus drove the merchants out of the Temple, saying: “this is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!” He could have been saying those words to us, referring to our souls. O fallen man, your soul is a house of prayer, but you have filled it with thievery! It takes a lifetime of penance to cleanse the temple.

But Joachim and Ann’s daughter, they could see, had no thieves in her interior temple. She could goof; she could laugh, like girls will do. But there was no grasping; there was no desperation; no unreasonable anger, no inconsistency of desire. The young Mary wanted one thing, focused on one thing, rested her whole heart and mind on one thing: God.

This girl belonged in the Temple. Everyone who knew her could see that she herself was a temple. When Joachim and Ann took her to the Temple to learn the things of God, the temple of a pure soul came to the Temple on Mount Zion.

President gave a speech yesterday evening. I must say that I was truly moved by the peroration. He painted the picture of the people we know, the fathers and mothers and children who deserve a better life than “it’s no fun being an illegal alien.”

Genesis Illegal Alien cdPresident Obama quoted Exodus. Our Catholic Bible offers a more precise translation: “You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.”

The People of God know that this world offers no lasting city. Our true home lies above. ‘Resident-alien’-hood comes to us as a birthright, with Holy Baptism.

President said that our country is about more than what we look like and what our last names are. Amen to that. Then he added the usual throw-away phrase about religion: doesn’t matter “how we worship,” either.

Wrong.

How do we get where we want to be? That is: How do we get to the point where we embrace all men as brothers, because we have one common Father?

Only one human individual begotten of two human parents ever came into the world with that sentiment already at work in her beautiful soul. The rest of us have an intractable tendency to fight amongst ourselves.

America can only become the “America” of the beautiful vision by resting securely at the feet of the true patroness of this land, the Guadalupana, the immaculate Mother of God.

What we look like, and our last names, don’t matter. But how we worship not only matters, but is the key to everything. The religion that brings about e pluribus unum is the religion of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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