Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.
The Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary.
Feast Day 2 February.
Double of The Second-Class.
Purification of The Blessed Virgin Mary.
Illustration: UNA VOCE OF ORANGE COUNTY
Artist: Rene de Cramer.
Used with Permission.
With The Feast of The Purification, ends The Sanctoral Cycle of The Season after Epiphany. It is one of the oldest Feasts of Our Lady and, in Rome in the 7th-Century A.D., it ranked only after The Assumption in importance. The Feast is kept on 2 February, because Mary, wishing to obey The Mosaic Law, had to go to Jerusalem forty days after The Birth of Jesus (25 December - 2 February) to offer the prescribed sacrifice [The Church has instituted for Christian mothers the fine Ceremony of "Churching".]. Mothers were to offer a lamb, or, if their means did not allow, "two doves or two young pigeons".
The Blessed Virgin Mary took with her to Jerusalem The Infant Jesus, and The Candlemas Procession recalls the journey of Mary and Joseph ascending to the temple to present "The Angel of The Covenant" (Epistle, Introit) as Malachy had Prophesied.
"The wax of the candles signifies The Virginal Flesh of The Divine Infant," says Saint Anselm, "the wick figures His Soul and the flame His Divinity."
The Purification to which The Mother of The Saviour was not obliged to conform, as her Motherhood was beyond ordinary laws, is not placed in the foreground of The Liturgy and The Presentation of Jesus is the principal object of this Feast.
If this Solemnity is considered as belonging to The Season of Christmas, Jesus will be seen manifested by Simeon as The God Who "shall illumine the Gentiles with His Light and shall be The Glory of the people of Israel" (Gospel); and if, as belonging to The Season after Epiphany, we shall Adore Jesus in the accomplishment of this Prophecy, either at The Marriage Feast at Cana, where He commences to "manifest His Glory" (Gospel of The Second Sunday after Epiphany), or in the midst of the multitude, when He spreads The Light of His Doctrine (Gospel of The Fifth and Sixth Sundays after Epiphany).
We may read The Fourth Prayer of The Blessing of Candles in order to understand the symbolism of The Lamp of the Sanctuary and the Candles Blessed on this day, and to know the right use to be made of them by the bed of the dying, during storms, and in the perils to which may be exposed "our bodies and Souls on land and on the waters" (First Prayer of The Blessing of Candles).
If The Feast of The Purification falls on a Privileged Sunday, it is Transferred to the following day; nevertheless, The Blessing of The Candles takes place before The Sunday Mass.
Every Parish Priest Celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.
Mass: Suscépimus, Deus.
The Blessed Candles should be held lighted in the hand during the Gospel and also from the Sanctus to the Communion.