The Meeting of the Lord

Byzantine icon of the XV century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Byzantine icon of the XV century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

On the fortieth day following the Nativity, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, as was customary according to the Law of Moses, brought the Infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, and Simeon and Anna, the prophets of Israel, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, met Him as the promised Christ the Saviour. And Saint Simeon the God­Receiver foretold to the Mother of God:Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:34­35).

Those who gave Him over to crucifixion, served God to the extent of their understanding of that same Law; but in the thoughts of their heart they served the devil, because self­assurance made them unreceptive to the Light of truth. They could not renounce their notions concerning the Messiah. But God is not that which we think about Him, but that which it is pleasing to Him to reveal to us; and man's concern is to prepare his heart for this meeting. Saint Simeon was a man just and devout…and the Holy Ghost was upon him (Luke 2:25). The Church teaches the Law of God, righteousness and piety, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are bestowed in the Mystery of Chrismation; but meeting God always requires the exploit of faith ­ the readiness to accept everything that will be pleasing to Him. Thus did Saint Simeon the God­Receiver meet God. It was foretold to him that he would not die until he would see Christ the Lord. He took up the Infant in his arms, blessed God and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Luke 2:28­32). In this prayer there is no fear of death ­ only the exultation and splendor of meeting God. That is also why it is sung each day in the Church and is so beloved by the faithful.


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