“Is there anything that could be more humiliating for the Son of God than to appear as a sinner, although He was holiness itself.”
– St John Baptist de la Salle
What is the feast of The Presentation of the Lord?
The Presentation of the Lord, popularly known as ‘Candlemas,’ traditionally concludes the celebration of Christmas. It commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple forty days after his birth, an occasion when offerings were made and the mother was ritually purified. Simeon’s prophecy referred to Jesus as ‘a light to enlighten the pagans’, summing up the Christmas theme of light coming into the darkness, but also points towards the Paschal Mystery, for He was ‘destined to be a sign that is rejected.’
Collect for The Presentation of the Lord
Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, maiestatem tuam supplices exoramus, ut, sicut Unigenitus Filius tuus hodierna die cum nostræ carnis substantia in templo est præsentatus, ita nos facias purificatis tibi mentibus præsentari. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
Today’s Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
Shorter Form, verses 2:22-32. Read between [ ]
[When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every firstborn male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’]
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
St Josemaria on the Presentation in the Temple
As extracted from our book Handbook of Prayers.
And this time it will be you, my friend, who carries the cage with the doves (Lk 2: 24).
Just think: She — Mary Immaculate! — submits to the Law as if she were defiled.
Through this example, foolish child, won’t you learn to fulfil the holy law of God regardless of any personal sacrifice?
Purification! You and I certainly do need purification. Atonement and, more than atonement, love. Love as a searing iron to cauterise our soul’s uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretchedness of our hearts.
An upright and devout man has come to the Temple, led by the Holy Spirit (it has been revealed to him that he would not die until he had set eyes on the Christ). He takes the Messiah into his arms and says: “Now, my Lord, you can let your servant go from this world in peace, just as you promised, because my eyes have seen the Saviour” (Lk 2: 25– 30).
Design a candle for Candlemas with your child with this free Candlemas activity for children.
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