If you haven’t already subscribed to Brant Pitre’s excellent series, The Mass Readings Explained, I highly recommend that you do so. For today’s feast you can view two videos (4:14 and 9:08 in length) and at least part of the transcript even without being a subscriber. (I tried to embed them in this post but coudn’t.) Subscribe to the Mass Readings Explained for access to the full-length videos, the transcripts and study guides. (Links at the end of this post.)
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As a convert received in 1996 I did not know that “Until 1969, the ancient feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and closed the Christmas Cycle, forty days after the Lord’s birth.” I’d heard it called the Purification, but not until I was in the process of converting, and I didn’t know about the 1969 change. (I was a year away from entering high school that year and anything Catholic was barely on my radar. I had one Catholic friend. That I know of, and, sadly, she left the Church and became Protestant probably about the same time I left Protestantism, the New Age, and Buddhism, to become Catholic. But I digress).
“The feast was first observed in the Eastern Church as ‘The Encounter.’ In the sixth century, it began to be observed in the West: in Rome with a more penitential character and in Gaul (France) with solemn blessings and processions of candles, popularly known as ‘Candlemas.’ The Presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and with the offerings of the Virgin Mother and the prophecy of Simeon, the events now point toward Easter.”Catholic Culture (See notes below.)
”In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another ‘epiphany’ celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or ‘Candlemas,’ was of great importance.”— Catholic Culture (See notes below,)
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful and blessed feast of the Purification and Presentation. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, may the Lord bless you and keep you, and may the peace of Christ be always with you. +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- The Presentation of the Lord, Year A, video by Brant Pitre, part of the Mass Readings Explained series.
- Quotes from the Catholic Culture article about Feb. 2 in the liturgical cycle.
- Images of the Presentation, stained glass windows, from Pixabay.
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