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, however, 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, preceded 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, well 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 this devout observance.

Entry for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the New Marian Missal

Wishing you and yours one last, heartfelt Merry Christmas! this season. May the beauty, hope, and joy of Our Savior’s glorious incarnation and birth arm us for the dreadful fight ahead. Septuagesima is coming this Sunday, of course, and I need not remind you of the evil of our times.

May we all beg Our Incarnate Lord and His Blessed Mother for the gift of final perseverance and a happy death, and then face the daily battle with confidence in the help of heaven.

Masses at St. Francis de Sales Oratory today: Low Masses at 8am and 12:15pm; Solemn High Mass preceded by blessing of candles and procession, 6:30pm