It is no mere coincidence that the graces God bestows on us today are reflections of His love that stretches from before time began to after time becomes eternity.

This was the case at Holy Angels Church at the 8 a.m. Mass Nov. 21, the memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The day commemorates when Anna and Joachim presented their 3-year-old daughter Mary ­- the future mother of Jesus ­- to God in the temple. This was done to fulfill a promise made to God by the childless Anna.

When it came time for members of the congregation to bring the offertory gifts of wine and hosts to the altar, three elementary school-age girls did the honors.

Father Andrew Stahmer met them at the altar, and you could see the welcoming smile on his face and the girl's pony tails bobbing up and down enthusiastically as he thanked them, talked to them and blessed them. The smiles on the girls' faces as they came back down the aisle were brighter than all the candles in the church.

Everyone in the church realized that the girls' faith in God was strengthened and their love of God was deepened.

We are truly blessed when we present ourselves to God and dedicate our lives to Him.

Our souls are immeasurably brighter than even those girls' smiles when God is truly presented to us.

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God's loving presence is our greatest gift.