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Circumcision

By simply following the rules we have an opportunity to be a little more like God…

The Circumcision of Christ (Jan Baegert)

There are so many rules and regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic that it can at times be difficult to keep up with them. In fact – due to the sheer number of rules and the rapidity of the changes, often the rules have appeared unduly arbitrary and cumbersome to me and it has been a struggle to consent to follow them…


This year, each Sunday – between Sunday 30th January and St Joseph’s Feast Day on Saturday 19th March, I have been praying a prayer that recounts the seven sorrows and seven joys of Saint Joseph and meditating upon these mysteries. Though I have not prayed anything like this before, I have found this prayer to be a deeply meditative and reflective experience and very rewarding.


The other day I was reflecting very much about the “Third Sorrow” of Saint Joseph, which is the Circumcision of Christ…


“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:21-24)

And this incident in the life of Our Blessed Lord has intrigued me very much because it seems – at first – so utterly pointless for God Himself to follow the rule regarding circumcision when the rule would be revoked for Christians within a handful of years following Christ’s death and resurrection.

After all, though Christ was circumcised according to the Law of Moses, after His death and resurrection, the early Church Fathers decided – almost straight away – that circumcision and some other Jewish laws were unnecessary of Christians. Accordingly, the very action which was performed on Christ – God Himself – when He was only eight days old, was deemed unnecessary for all the sinners who followed Him, only a handful of years later.


And it is not just that. Not just the circumcision. You see, Our Blessed Mother – Queen of Heaven – and her chaste spouse Saint Joseph (who is surely the greatest saint beside Our Blessed Mother – having been appointed Saviour of the Saviour and Guardian of the Redeemer), offered sacrifices in the Temple. Yes. The PARENTS of the SACRIFICIAL LAMB offered a couple of birds as a sacrifice to God – the parents of the ETERNAL SACRIFICE gave God birds when He was a few weeks old – even though God would offer Himself to God a mere 33 years later!


And these things have caused me to ask why? Why did God not only permit – but ensure – that such rules were followed by God the Son and the Queen of Heaven when He knew that such rules would very soon be deemed completely unnecessary by the very fact that the Queen of Heaven gave birth to God the Son?


And the answer – I believe – is that God was showing us that He Himself follows the rules... Not because He has to, but because He wants to. Because God Himself is PERFECTLY humble and perfect humility means that even when the rules are crazy and even when they do not seem to make any sense, we can follow them, because – provided that they are not harming anyone – by simply following the rules we have an opportunity to be a little more like God…


And what a wonderful opportunity that is for a miserable little sinner like me…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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