Sunday, February 03, 2008


Anselm wrote this the other day, but I thought it was good so I'm going to post it here:

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 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 anciently termed. This is the principal theme of the liturgy on this day: Jesus is taken to the Temple "to present Him to the Lord." So the Lord comes to His 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, 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." The anthems sung during this procession, eastern in origin, will 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 its devout observance.

Reading paragraphs like the above (taken from the 1962 Daily Missal) always makes me sad, and also a bit angry, at having been deprived of such beautiful parts of our common Catholic patrimony. God willing though Maria will grow up in a different era of the Church, one in which such things are allowed to flourish once more. The Christmas tree and other decorations came down in the Byzantine chapel this morning after Divine Liturgy. And Lisa produced some fine examples of traditional European Candlemas Day fare: crêpes (with Nutella inside - I don't know how traditional that is, but we discovered it in Orvieto and loved it).

Boniface note: Remember that breaking with Tradition and failing to hand on what has been passed down is actually a form of theft because future generations are robbed of the beauty that their ancestors enjoyed, as Anselm says, we are "deprived."