Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Yesterday was the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, wherein 40 days after His birth, Our Lord was presented at the Temple, thus signifying His entrance into His Church, and also the humble obedience of the Blessed Virgin, who presented herself according to God’s Law to be purified, even though she had absolutely no need of such since her virginity was totally preserved for her entire life.
Our Lord was received by Simeon and the prophetess Anna, and the icon above depicts the wonderful moment wherein St. Simeon, knowing Who Our Lord was, took Him into his arms. St. Augustine put it so beautifully:
“An old man was carrying a Child; but the Child was the old man’s Lord.”
I was struck by the icon above because it is one of the very few icons I have seen wherein the subject’s face is radiating joy. Icons often look quite sad, or at minimum extremely solemn. In this icon, the joy of Simeon, the God-Receiver, tears welling in his eyes and a gentle smile on his lips as he looks upon God Incarnate, is most moving.
St. Simeon, the God-Receiver, is an image of all of us who receive Our Lord into our own physical embrace every time we receive the Eucharist. Would that we all recognize and know Him as He is brought to us at the Communion rail, like Simeon knew Him on the steps of the Temple; would that we all hold and cradle Our Lord with the care and awe that St. Simeon did when we receive Him in the Eucharist; and would that we all rejoice like St. Simeon at each and every meeting with Our Lord.