Deepen Your Understanding of Sacred Scripture

Through this free eBook, The Scriptural Rosary.

The Holy Rosary is an amazing prayer, encouraged by popes, loved by saints, and prayed by the faithful. Many miracles have come from this beautiful devotion. At its heart, the Rosary is a meditation on Sacred Scripture, on the lives of Jesus and Mary.

Through this Scriptural Rosary, we hope that you will be able to better meditate on each Hail Mary and deepen your understanding of Sacred Scripture. Use the form below to get your free copy of, The Scriptural Rosary.



Why is the Presentation of Jesus important?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 529) teaches,

The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Savior-the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of Israel,” but also “a sign that is spoken against.” The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “prepared in the presence of all peoples.”

It is also important to note that, as a poor family, the Holy Family gave an offering of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. However, the Lamb whom they brought to the Temple was the Lamb of God.

At what age was Jesus presented in the temple?

He was presented when He was still a newborn, only 40 days old.

“In the mysterious encounter between Simeon and Mary, the Old and New Testaments are joined. Together the aging prophet and the young mother give thanks for this Light which has kept the darkness from prevailing. It is the Light which shines in the heart of human life: Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, ‘a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of his people Israel.’” – Pope St. John Paul II

Who are Simeon and Anna in the Bible?

The Gospel of Luke 2:22-40 states:

And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and 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 in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,

“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Regarding Simeon and Anna, Pope Benedict XVI said,

Even the priests proved incapable of recognizing the signs of the new and special presence of the Messiah and Saviour. Alone two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, discover this great newness. Led by the Holy Spirit, in this Child they find the fulfilment of their long waiting and watchfulness. They both contemplate the light of God that comes to illuminate the world and their prophetic gaze is opened to the future in the proclamation of the Messiah: “Lumen ad revelationem gentium!” (Lk 2:32). The prophetic attitude of the two elderly people contains the entire Old Covenant which expresses the joy of the encounter with the Redeemer. Upon seeing the Child, Simeon and Anna understood that he was the Awaited One.

“… while we are still at the dawn of Jesus’ life, we are already oriented to Calvary. It is on the Cross that Jesus will be definitively confirmed as a sign of contradiction, and it is there that his Mother’s heart will be pierced by the sword of sorrow. We are told it all from the beginning, on the 40th day after Jesus’ birth, on the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, so important in the Church’s liturgy.” - Pope St. John Paul II

What does the name “Simeon” mean?

This is a Hebrew name that means “he has heard” or “God has heard.”

When is St. Simeon’s feast day?

The Church celebrates his feast day on the day after Candlemas, February 3.

Was Simeon a prophet?

In Hebrew navi, a prophet is one who tells, a spokesperson of God, speaking divine truth, or foretelling what will be the consequences for the future. On both counts, Simeon was a prophet, who revealed the truth about who Jesus was, as well as the implications for Israel, for Jesus Himself and for Mary.

What does the name “Anna” mean?

Originally taken from the Hebrew name Hannah, it means “favor” or “grace.”

When is St. Anna’s feast day?

Anna the Prophetess shares a feast day with St. Simeon on February 3.

“In the encounter between the old man Simeon and Mary, a young mother, the Old and New Testaments come together in a wondrous way in giving thanks for the gift of the light that shone in the darkness and has prevented it from prevailing: Christ the Lord.” - Pope Benedict XVI

What did Simeon say when he saw Jesus?

St. Simeon offered this prayer,

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)

Called the Nunc Dimittis, for the first words in the Latin Vulgate, it is one of the three major Canticles used in the Church’s liturgy. It is said each evening at the end of Night Prayer, the last Divine Office of the Liturgy of the Hours, or Breviary. The other Canticles are that of Zechariah, used for Lauds or Morning Prayer, and of Mary (the Magnificat), used for Vespers or Evening Prayer.

What did Simeon say about Mary?

After speaking of Jesus, St. Simeon then spoke to Mary of her role of accompanying her Son in His redemptive suffering. Simeon reveals, as well, Mary’s own mission of intercession and compassion for us, her spiritual children.

Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34-35)
“This is the meeting point of the two Testaments, Old and New. Jesus enters the ancient temple; he who is the new Temple of God: he comes to visit his people, thus bringing to fulfilment obedience to the Law and ushering in the last times of salvation.” - Pope Benedict XVI

Who is Anna in the Bible?

Anna is the prophetess who saw the Holy Family at the Presentation of Jesus at the temple. The Gospel of Luke 2:36-38 tells us about Anna:

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

What does the Purification of Mary mean?

The purification was ritual, preparatory to worship, in this case after the momentous events of childbirth and the time of rest or “laying in” afterwards. Thus, the Jewish priest purified himself by bathing before entering the holy place, and, similarly, the priest at Mass washes his hands before beginning the Eucharistic Prayer and handing the Body and Blood of Christ.

Mary, although morally pure, fulfilled her religious obligations by being purified 40 days after Jesus’ birth. Throughout her life, the Blessed Mother was always obedient to God’s Will, in this case expressed through the laws given to Israel through Moses.

“Simeon’s words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful.” — Pope St. John Paul II

Why is it called Candlemas Day?

This is the day when candles are blessed in the Church and traditionally have been lit in celebration of the feast.

Pope St. John Paul II said, “Christian traditions of the East and West have been interwoven, enriching the liturgy of this feast with a special procession in which the light of candles both large and small is a symbol of Christ, the true Light who came to illumine his people and all peoples.”

How many days after Christmas is Candlemas celebrated?

Candlemas is celebrated 40 days after Christmas. According to Leviticus 12, women should be purified 40 days after a son’s birth (33 days after the boy’s circumcision) and 80 days after a daughter’s birth. The purification was ritual, and preparatory to worship, in this case after the momentous events of childbirth and the time of rest or “laying in” afterwards.

Is Candlemas the end of Christmas?

In the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite, the liturgical forms and calendar as revised after the Second Vatican Council, the last day of the Christmas Season is the Baptism of Our Lord, when His hidden life ended and His public ministry began.

However, the Church maintains an Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite which utilizes the forms and calendar in use prior to the Council. In this usage, the Christmas Season continues until the Feast of the Presentation. Many Catholics, therefore, maintain their Christmas decorations through Candlemas.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

What is the significance of Candlemas Day?

Pope St. John Paul II said,

The prophetic words spoken by the aged Simeon shed light on the mission of the Child brought to the temple by his parents: “Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against ... that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35). To Mary Simeon said: “And a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Lk 2:35). The hymns of Bethlehem have now faded and the cross of Golgotha can already be glimpsed; this happens in the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered. The event we are commemorating today is thus a bridge as it were, linking the two most important seasons of the Church's year.

What do you eat on Candlemas?

Pancakes are the traditional choice on Candlemas. In Mexico, people eat tamales on this feast day, and in France, they eat crepes.

What are the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary?

The Joyful Mysteries include:

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity of Our Lord
  4. The Presentation in the Temple
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

What is the World Day for Consecrated Life?

The Presentation is celebrated in the Church as the World Day for Consecrated Life. Pope St. John Paul II instituted this annual celebration in 1997 as a day of prayer for religious men and women and other consecrated persons. This recalls the special offering which they have made to the Lord through their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In Rome, the Holy Father celebrates a special Mass for them at St. Peter’s, which the religious living in Rome attend.

Pope Benedict XVI said,

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is an eloquent image of the total gift of one’s life for all those, men and women, who are called to represent “the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, n. 1) in the Church and in the world, through the evangelical counsels. For this reason Venerable John Paul II chose today’s Feast to celebrate the Annual World Day of Consecrated Life.