The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dear Virgil,

I think your résumé looks just fine, though I would increase the font size on the left hand column if I were you.  Other than that, no changes.  A thought occurred to me while I was reading over it: how little of you really comes through.  I happen to know you quite well, and thanks to our correspondence over the years, I am also familiar with all the various achievements and positions you mention in your résumé.  The ones that appear most impressive on paper are the ones that were actually most tedious in reality!  And the experiences that have really shaped your character and your spirit (like our pilgrimage to Our Lady Guadalupe, that fishing trip to Alaska with your dad, and your years as an altar boy in the Cathedral) don’t even make it onto the list at all.  Ah, the irony of this crazy world…  I’m not too worried about you and your senior year job search; I am confident that you have discerned the proper priorities in life and have the metal to live in accordance with them no matter where you end up (as long as you keep on praying and going to confession regularly, that is).  Nevertheless, I would suggest that you take advantage of today’s feast in order to renew your awareness of God’s perspective on your résumé.

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple is one of those odd memorials that sneaked into the liturgy even though there is little historical evidence supporting the actual fact of the occurrence.  Some of the apocryphal (non-canonical) Gospels depict the scene, describing how Joachim and Anne (Mary’s parents) took the child Mary to the Temple when she was three years old, and the priest kissed and blessed her, and she danced on the altar’s steps, and she stayed there in the Temple from then on, serving the Lord until her betrothal to Joseph.  Only later in the game (sixth century in the East and eleventh century in the West) did the commemoration become regular and widespread. But even so, it reminds us of an undeniable spiritual truth: God has a plan for each of our lives from the very beginning of our existence.  He doesn’t create us and than later on try and come up with something for us to do.  Not at all.  In his mind, our lives are one with our mission within the Church.  Just as a master architect knows in advance how every stone will fit into the Cathedral and oversees the production of every detail of the edifice, so our Lord makes each of us with a particular mission in mind.  The drama of life, then, consists in freely discovering and embracing this plan, this unique mission that only I can fulfill, this singular role that only I can play in the history of salvation.  The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary illustrates this truth by showing how her special place in God’s story was known even before she had reached the age of reason.  Thanks be to God she decided to cooperate fully in her mission once she did reach the age of reason.

So every time you send out that résumé of yours, and every time you get a letter back, remind yourself that God has something he’s hoping you’ll do in life, and you’ll experience incomparable fulfillment and meaning if you discover and embrace it.

Your loving uncle,


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