Friday, February 06, 2009


I remember reading in British novels about Candlemas decades ago. Whatever else one may say about the British, they've preserved a lot of these traditional Catholic names in their culture. Last Monday, however, I had the pleasure of actually assisting at "Candle Mass" -- the Mass of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Candlemas Day. Here's what the church bulletin said:
Today's feast commemorates 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 blessing and distribution of candles, to be carried lighted in procession, precedes 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."
I wish I had time to write out the entire Candlemas liturgy for you, with the Blessing of the Candles, Distribution, and Procession, as well as the Mass itself. It's really quite beautiful and much more involved than I ever expected. Gotta go.

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