Thursday, February 1, 2007

Candlemas, February 2

Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the King. Salute Mary, the gate of Heaven; for she beareth the King of Glory, Who is the new Light....
Antiphon for feast of the Purification of the Virgin

On the fortieth day after Christmas we celebrate the Presentation of Our Lord on the Temple, where even as a tiny Infant He is offered by His Mother and St Joseph to the Eternal Father for the sins of the world. Many prophecies were fulfilled that day, unknown to most of the world, except for Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, all persons of prayer and special consecration to God. In a time of great darkness there was suddenly and quite publicly a great light, to be received only by those whose hearts were open. A small Child embodies in His person the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of humanity, but He is not alone; He is with His family. The Holy Family stand between us and utter chaos and despair. Like the Child Jesus, we do not make our offering alone, we make it with Mary and Joseph, we make it in the context of our own families.

This feast day links Christmas with Lent, the mysteries of the Incarnation with the Sacred Passion, the joyful mysteries with the sorrowful mysteries. Mary's Heart is pierced as Simeon's prophecy is uttered, for a mother suffers for her child, especially when that Child is God. How joy and suffering were mingled in that transfixion of such a tender and loving heart.... Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD wrote so magnificently of this feast in his book Divine Intimacy:

O Jesus, through the hands of Mary, I wish to offer myself today with You to the eternal Father. But You are a pure, holy, and Immaculate Host, while I am defiled with misery, and sin....O Virgin Most pure, lead me along the way of a serious and thorough purification; accompany me yourself, so that my weakness will not make me faint because of the roughness of the road.

Happy Feast Day to all! Jesus is the Light which shines in the darkness! Don Marco has some beautiful thoughts on this blessed feast.


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