Thursday, February 2, 2017 Feast of the Presentation
Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Exodus, Chapter 18, Verse 18-21
18 “You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. The task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now, listen to me, and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. Act as the people’s representative before God, and bring their disputes to God. 20 Enlighten them in regard to the statutes and instructions, showing them how they are to conduct themselves and what they are to do. 21 But you should also look among all the people for able and God-fearing men, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them over the people as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
Our Lord asks us to lead, follow or get out of the way. Our Lord tells us, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Mt. 12:30-31) If you are a leader start leading in the church with a group of ten; follow where you can and do not hinder the work of the Holy Spirit. Here is an extract from my book “Coffee with Christ” on the importance of Ground Hog Day.
Ground Hog Day
I ask Christ if he has seen the movie, “Ground Hog day”. He laughs and says playfully, “No, but I inspired it”. I continue, well today is Ground Hog day and tradition say that if the ground hog sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. Christ asks, “So what happens in the movie?” I state it is a story of a cranky young man who keeps magically repeating his ground hog day until he has a life changing attitude toward people and life in general. Christ says that is the reason for His coming to these coffee clutch’s with me and that He wants to give me a whole new view of life. This is what I referred to when I told Nicodemus that a person must be born again to enter the kingdom. That is you must awaken or give birth to the Spirit of the Father that is in you-the spirit of love and you must also live in the truth. Your action and behavior must be true to the spirit the Father reveals to you.
ON this day the Church solemnly celebrates the presentation of Jesus in the temple, and the obedience and humility both of Mary and her divine Son, who, though not subject to the law in regard to purification and presentation, yet subjected themselves to it. Hence this feast is called the Purification of the Virgin Mary. In common speech we call it also Candlemas, because on this day the candles required for the divine service are blessed and carried in procession.
What is the design of this custom?
- It is to remind us that Jesus, the light of the world, was offered up to His heavenly Father, by Mary, in the temple at Jerusalem, where He was called by Simeon; a light for the revelation of the gentiles, and the glory of the people of Israel.
- To remind us, also, of several important truths, to which the priest refers in the prayers at the blessings. Thus he prays that as the earthly light dispels the darkness of night, so Jesus, with the light of His divine doctrine, may clear away our spiritual blindness and ignorance, and lead us in the way of virtue; that as the Holy Ghost enlightened Simeon, so He may also enlighten us to acknowledge Jesus as the true light, to love Him and follow Him, to keep our hearts from the way of sin, and to guide them in the way of virtue, and to kindle them with the fire of holy love; finally, that God may preserve, in soul and body, those who use blessed candles with devotion, may hear their prayers, and grant them entrance into the kingdom of the eternal and ever-blessed light.
Today the church celebrates world day for consecrated life prayer and ask the Lord if He is calling you to be a light to the world.
One of the grandest feasts of the Middle Ages and one of only three feasts in the English language verbally denoted by a Mass (Christmas and Michaelmas being the other two), Candlemas, or the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorates Our Lady's visit to the Temple in humble obedience to that clause of the Old Law which requires a woman to be ritually purified forty days after bearing a son. On the assumption that Our Lord was born on December 25, the date of Mary's visit to the Temple would be February 2. It was on this day that Simeon the aged prophet, upon seeing the infant Jesus, proclaimed him to be "a Light to the gentiles" (Lk. 2.32). Hence the day has always involved a celebration of light. The most famous of these customs -- and the one from which the feast takes its common name -- is the blessing of, and procession with, candles. The day begins with five beautiful blessings of candles that invoke God's aid in living out allegorically what the light and fire of a candle symbolize: wisdom and illumination, purification and charity, and so on. A solemn and penitential procession (in which the celebrant wears purple) exits and then re-enters the church, at which point the purple is cast aside for the jubilance of white and a joyful Mass is offered. One of the more distinctive features of this Mass is that the candles are held lighted in the hand during the Gospel and from the Sanctus to the Communion. Candles used in the procession are not the only ones blessed on this day. Many families traditionally had most or all of their special candles -- for Advent, St. Lucy's Day, Christmas, or the family shrine -- blessed on this day.
The Feast's association with light also made it a great day for predicting the weather. According to an old legend, if the sun shines bright for the better part of the day, it means forty more days of winter. From this quaint superstition came Groundhog Day.
Finally, Candlemas is the absolute last day for ending the Christmas season. Any Christmas items that had not been taken down on Epiphany or its Octave were now carefully put away.
· Drops of Christ’s Blood
Please pray for the soul of my mother Rosella Havermale who died on this feast day in 2002.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
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