February 2nd The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Candlemas) Pt. 1

'L'Annee Liturgique' has 48 pages for this Feast. In this inaugural year of 'In the Sight of Angels', shortage of time makes it impossible to do justice to them. In due course an attempt will be made to redress the omission.

I have decided instead for this year, to reproduce extracts from my own entry for Candlemas in 'Gardening with God: Light in Darkness'. This was of course based on obedience to the 'new' liturgy, but even so, I remember having difficulty in confining myself to the four pages I had allotted for this multi-faceted Feast. It is to be hoped that no-one will see the inclusion of my own work as an act of inappropriate temerity or arrogance. I am fully aware of Dom Gueranger's vast superiority over me!

A Light to lighten the Gentiles and, to be the glory of thy people Israel

"At Candlemas I am struck with wonder at the continuity of our faith and by the absolutely real connection we have with the old priest in the Temple, holding our Saviour in his arms. Each of us symbolically carries Him in the light of the candle we hold...................The collective light we make symbolises many more things than Simeon's prophecy as related to ourselves and our carrying the light of Christ within us. I shall reflect on some of them during the day. (Here is the result of that reflection in the year of writing, 2001)...............

"The light of Candlemas symbolises:

- the light of example in the submission of Mary and Joseph to the ritual of Purification, even though it was entirely inappropriate to Mary and her Child;

- the light of our realisation that Christ Himself willed it so. He submitted to the Law in order to purify it. He willed to become like us; He entered the Temple in demonstration that He had come to rebuild it.

- the light of His glorious kingship over Israel and over all the kingdoms on earth;

-the light of his sacred priesthood over all priests;

- the light of the Spirit that brought Simeon to the Temple to receive the Child that day;

-the light that spoke through Simeon of suffering, not only for Mary but for all Israel in the near future, and in the far distant future for them and all of us;

- the light that spoke of those who would reject, and those who would accept that great LIGHT in the darkness;

- the light that enabled Simeon to recognise the Child in his arms as the glory of His people, and enabled Anna to acclaim that Child as Messiah and Redeemer;

- the light that completed the cycle of prophecy immediately surrounding the birth of the Savious;

- the light of personal fulfilment and peace brought to Simeon and Anna by His presence;

- the light of Life He is to us;

- the light of Christ Himself."

copyright Jane Mossendew 2002

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