Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as “Candlemas,” because of the use of a candle-lit procession connected with the feast that seems to date to the 4th or 5th Century.
When Jesus is forty days old, the Blessed Virgin associates herself yet more directly and deeply with the work of our salvation by presenting Him in the Temple. She is the first to offer to the Eternal Father His Divine Son.
That last part sounds an awful lot like what a priest is doing in Mass, no?
On a related note, here are some images of Mary dressed like a priest…
The Annunciation. Mary is dressed as a priest (she is, like the priest at Mass, making Christ present in the world through the words she speaks). Notice the dark blue chasuble, white alb, and priestly stole. On a side note, it looks like the Angel Gabriel is dressed as a Deacon (notice the diagonal stole). This makes sense, as the liturgical role of the Deacon is primarily proclaiming the Gospel- announcing the Word.
Mary is here before the Altar (the square thing behind her which, in an interesting aside, also looks like a bed). Her outer garment is an ornate chasuble, cut at the arms in the Roman style, but lengthened to the ankles. Notice the stole peaking out from the bottom of the chasuble. An acolyte to the side is holding the Pope’s Triple-Tiara. I’m curious who the painter thought it belonged to…