02 February 2017
Feast of the Purification of Mary
Happy Candlemas, everyone, and blessings on this last day of Christmastide! From The Liturgical Year:
The Greek Church and the Church of Milan count this Feast among those of our Lord; but the Church of Rome has always considered it as a Feast of the Blessed Virgin. It is true, it is our Saviour who is this day offered in the Temple; but this offering is the consequence of our Lady’s Purification. The most ancient of the Western Martyrologies and Calendars call it The Purification. The honour thus paid by the Church to the Mother, tends, in reality, to the greater glory of her Divine Son, for He is the Author and the End of all those prerogatives which we revere and honour in Mary.
But, whilst humbly keeping within thyself the secrets of the Eternal Father, and mingled in the Throng of these Hebrew mothers - the holy Simeon advances towards thee, O Mary! Knowing that the Holy Ghost has revealed the mystery to him, thou affectionately placest in his hands the God of heaven and earth, who has come to be the Consolation of Israel. The holy Anna, too, approaches thee, and thou lovingly receivest her. Perhaps, in thy younger years, thou hadst received from her, in this very Temple, the affection and care of a second mother. Thy heart thrills with delight, at hearing these two venerable Saints extolling God's faithfulness to his promises, and the glory of thy Child, and the splendour of the Light which is now to be shed forth on all nations. The happiness of thus hearing the praises of the God, who is thy Child, fills thee with joy and thankfulness - but oh! what a sword of grief pierces thy heart, dear Mother, at the words of Simeon as he gives thee back thy Babe! Henceforth, thou must weep as often as thou lookest on Him. He is to be a sign of contradiction [St Luke 2:34], and the wounds men are to give him are to wound thy soul! The blood of victims like these, that are now being offered in the Temple, shall cease to flow, and be changed for the Blood of thy Jesus!
O Mother of Sorrows! we were the cause of all this. It was our sins, that changed thy joy into mourning. And yet, thou lovest us, because thy Jesus loves us! Love us now and for ever. Intercede for us with thy Son. Pray, that we may never lose the graces granted us during these forty happy days. These graces drew us to the Crib of thy Child, and thy affection for us encouraged to stay. We are resolved to maintain our position near this Jesus, following him through all the Mysteries which are now to succeed this of his Infancy. We are resolved to be faithful disciples of this dear Master, and follow him, as thou didst, even to the foot of that Cross. which was revealed to thee on this day.