Purification of the B.V.M.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
2nd Class, White


Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, majestátem tuam súpplices exorámus : ut, sicut unigénitus Fílius tuus hodiérna die cum nostræ carnis substántia in templo est præsentátus ; ita nos fácias purificátis tibi méntibus præsentári. Per eúmdem Dóminum.

Let us pray:

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty : that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh ; so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Who.


The Feast of Candlemas, which derives its origin from the local observance of Jerusalem, marks the end of the Feasts included in the Christmas cycle of the liturgy. It is perhaps the most ancient festival of Our Lady. It commemorates, however, not only the obedience of the Blessed Virgin to the Mosaic Law in going to Jerusalem forty days after the birth of her Child and making the accustomed offerings, but also the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, and the meeting of the Infant Jesus with the old man Simeon -- the Occursus Domini, as the Feast was originally termed. This is the principal theme of the liturgy on this day: Jesus is taken into the Temple "to present Him to the Lord." So the Lord comes to His own Temple, and is met by the aged Simeon with joy and recognition.

The procession on this day is one of the most picturesque features of the Western liturgy. The blessing and distribution of candles, to be carried lighted in procession, preceded the Mass today -- a symbolic presentation of the truth proclaimed in the Canticle of Simeon: Our Lord is the "Light for the revelation of the Gentiles." The anthems sung during this procession, eastern in origin, well express the joy and gladness of this happy festival, and the honor and praise we give to our Blessed Lady and her Divine Son by this devout observance.

The Blessing may not take place without being followed by the Procession, nor the Procession without being preceded by the Blessing. At the Mass which follows the Procession there are no Preparatory Prayers. Lit candles are held during the Procession and the Gospel and from the Sanctus to the end of Communion.

(image: breviary.net)

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