GOSPEL Luke 2:22-32 At that time, when the days of Mary’s purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms and blessed God and said, “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace: Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Simeon had the Holy Ghost in him, leading him, speaking to him. Have you ever had this same sense? Seen someone else who has it? For most of us, we have our moments, but they are fleeting. You can’t get there without completely turning everything over to God. If you live out in the world, especially today’s world, barriers and road blocks abound. But if you want God to speak to you, know up front that it’s going to be a whisper, and if you are holding on to anything you refuse to hand over, lust, greed, stuff…those things work like white noise and you will never hear him.
Simeon handed everything over, and God told him he would see the Christ. He ordered everything toward this end, including his own death. For once the promise had been realized, he desired only death. “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant…”
Are you ready to say those words? Do you live every day with a Catholic Memento Mori bearing? Do you have the requisite fear of the Lord to guard against mortal sin? Do you make certain that your conscience is clear every day? When you do fall, do you get to Confession right away, as in, that same day? These things aren’t hard, and are only the very beginning of the journey.
We should all pray for a well-provided death. Fruit of the fourth glorious mystery. But if you are afraid of death itself, instead of being afraid of dying badly, you don’t understand Christianity, nor the Four Last Things. Folks, death will come for you. How you conduct yourself between this moment and that one is what matters. The spiritual life is about advancing your love of God, so that you might accept death with joy, winning the race, in great expectation of receiving the reward. You can never love Him as much as He loves you, but you can work on the relationship. He’s a Person. Three, actually.
Be like Simeon!