02 February 2008

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Candlemas)

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 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).

We had dinner with a few friends in the Kartause - chicken soup, salad, and Lisa's carrot cake. Above is Maria (with Petrus at her feet) just before we headed out the door.


big daddy said...

And the blessing of throats with candles on the feast of St. Blaise comes in part from its proximity to this feast.

Anna said...

I love Nutella! Traditional or not you can't argue with food as good as that.

The World of Our Concern said...

John, I totally hear you about being sad and angry about being deprived of our heritage.

The World of Our Concern said...

Sorry about the double post.

Did you hear? We got the Extraordinary Form on campus at Franciscan! We are very excited!

John said...

Dear WOC,

We did hear about the TLM at FUS. Congrats! We've followed the development as closely as Fr. Z's WDTPRS allowed us to. Your name even turned up there a few times, but I guess that would be known to you.

I'm intrigued by the idea of Divine Mercy Sunday in the context of the TLM; how does this work? Has somebody actually written propers, or do they take the propers from the NO feast? Sounds like a risky business to move forward on without authorization.

The World of Our Concern said...


The Institute of Christ the King, if I understand them correctly and I may very well be wrong, takes propers from the new Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday. However, it probably isn't going to happen here as our Schola director absolutely refuses to do anything of the sort. So we will probably just use the propers of Low Sunday and perhaps commemorate Divine Mercy Sunday. But Msgr. Schmitz of the Institute is going to be here in a few weeks and we are going to ask him exactly how they do it.

I hope all is well with you and Lisa and Maria, and that your classes are well. I only have 2 classes this semester, and they are not so exciting ("Texts of Jean-Luc Marion" and "Emotions and Judgments;" the latter is with my favorite professor but thus far we have been wading through the Rhetoric at an extremely slow pace). But I am also working on my thesis on sacramentality. Well, I have to go read some St. Bonaventure. God bless,


The McGuire Family said...

Of all the profound things everyone has said... mine is far less important... who needs soup or salad with Lisa's Carrot Cake... I haven't made it since thanksgiving and am thinking its about time for good cake eating evening

John said...

Judie, are you kidding? I don't know many things more profound than that carrot cake!

Actually, believe it or not, Lisa and I were just talking at dinner about how eating a carrot cake without you and David isn't the same. It's on the to-do-list for this summer!

nana said...

just wanted to get in my congrats on the newly developing little mcguire, and to ask Lisa to please email me the famous carrot cake recipe, as I have yet to find one that I actually like!