Metropolitan Serafeim of Zimbabwe
The feast of the Entry of our Lady connects us to God’s providence and Christ’s salvation of humanity and of the whole of God’s creation.
The plan of divine dispensation for our salvation, however, also included the participation of holy people who, with their devotion and submission to God’s will, brought about the supreme events which changed the history of the world for our benefit and salvation. Two such holy people were the parents of Our Lady, Joachim and Ann, which is why the Church honors and commemorates them as the forebearers of God.
Even though the holy Forebearers were already well-advanced in years and everyone was certain that there was no chance of their having any children, they themselves never stopped praying to God in the Highest to grant them the blessing of a child.
When the High Priest of the Temple heard them praying for a child at their age he angrily expelled them, telling them that they were mocking God by asking for the impossible.
The birth of Our Lady is the greatest miracle in the history of humanity, apart from the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, which divided the whole of the history of the world into the eras before and after Christ.
‘Mother of God, your birth heralded joy for the whole of the world, for from you arose the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God…’ (Dismissal Hymn for the feast of the Birth of the Mother of God).
The miracle which the holy Forebearers, Saint Joachim and Saint Ann, experienced- being granted the gift of a child by God- made it natural that they would dedicate the child to God, as they’d promised in any case in their prayers, as they grew older. And so, they took their precious three-year-old daughter to the Temple to give her over to God. They were so certain that the little girl would be well looked after by select, holy people that they weren’t in the least worried about dying in the near future and leaving their child unprotected. People who are God-fearing and devout never cease to believe in the protection, the providence and the justice of God.
Our Lady entered the Temple, where she would remain for twelve years in the service of the Ark of the Covenant in the holy of holies. Also there, were the clay tablets with the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law which the Prophet Moses had received on Mount Sinai, on the foothills of which the Monastery of Saint Katherine now sits.
During the twelve years of her service in the holy of holies, praying to God in the Highest, our Lady became full of grace, the deservedly blessed woman, worthy of receiving the glad tidings (Annunciation) of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God. She represented the whole of humankind as regards our deliverance, in Christ, from death and our journey to eternal life through the redemptive work of Christ.
The feast of the Entry of our Lady into the Temple is the entry of human nature into our divine preparation for our liberation from death through Jesus Christ as God and human person.
This is why the Epistle, as well as the Gospel for the feast, are associated with the person of our Lady as the pre-eminent person in world history, whom, after the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, we always honor as a living example of obedience to the divine will of God, so that we may live in accordance with his divine commandments: that we may love God in the Highest with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.
‘Today is … the proclamation of our salvation. The Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all’ (Dismissal Hymn of the feast of the Entry of our Lady).