Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Presentation of the Lord - Candlemas



Today is February 2nd and the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also called Candlemas.

On this day we commemorate when Our Lord Jesus Christ was presented in the Temple 40 days after His birth as Jewish law demanded.

Male children were to be presented in the Temple along with a pair of 2 pigeons.  The child would be purified and the mother would go to wash herself (Tevilah) at the Mikveh, or pool.

Both Jesus and Mary did not need to be presented or wash because they both are pure.

Nevertheless, in keeping with their Jewish traditions, they were part of the rituals.  The day became to be known as "Candlemas" because of the introduction of candles in the Mass in the 11th century.  The faithful held lighted candles in a dark Church as the canticle of Simeon is sung.  This canticle is also said during Compline (night prayer) in the Liturgy of the Hours.


Canticle of Simeon:
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuumQuod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;Your word has been fulfilled.My eyes have seen the salvationYou have prepared in the sight of every people,A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people, Israel.    -  Luke 2:29–32
      

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