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Great Characters of the Bible (4 of 12)
The Destiny of Jesus -- Simeon
by Clarence E. Macartney
I have never read any comment on it, but I take it for
granted that Raphael's great painting of Jesus and His
mother in the Dresden gallery, the so-called Sistine
Madonna, is an attempt to describe the thoughts and
emotions of the mother and her child at the
presentation in the temple. Mary, listening to the
words of Simeon, presents, and yet holds back, her
child; her unfocused eyes seem to be filled with
wonder and awe as she sees far in the distance the
strange destiny of the child who rests in her arms.
Simeon was a just man and devout, one who waited for
the consolation of Israel, and to whom it had been
revealed by the Holy Spirit that he should not see
death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. He had
come by the Spirit into the temple when Joseph and
Mary brought up Jesus to present him. By a revelation
he knew that this child was the Lord's Christ and,
taking Him up in his arms, he blessed Him.
If we had the gift of Simeon and could cast the
horoscope of a child and speak its destiny, the
mother's face would be filled with wonder and awe,
perhaps also with dread, as she contemplated the path
of hardship, of sorrow, and of pain that her child is
to tread; or the career of crime that he will
accomplish; the days of loneliness, the hours of
anguish, perhaps also deeds of dishonor and of shame.
It is just as well that the future is veiled and that
no Simeon can stand in our midst and sketch the future
of a child as he did the future of the Divine Child
who lay that day in Mary's arms. Yet every life is
full of wonder, of mystery, of awe. What the people
said on learning the circumstances of the birth of
John the Baptist we can all say when we look into the
face of a baby, "What manner of child shall this be!"
When he took the child in his arms, the devout Simeon
blessed Jose ...
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