Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Happy Feast of the Presentation, aka “Candlemas”! It is called “Candlemas” because of the words of Simeon (shown above holding the squirmy Baby Jesus Who, like any baby, has planted His little hand right on Simeon’s mouth.) Simeon prophesied of Our Blessed Lord in Luke 2: 32 that He was, “A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Hence the great association with light and candles today. Also remember that the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, the fruit of which is Obedience.
Touchingly, as I look at this masterpiece by Giotto, I think perhaps the Baby Jesus is shown reaching longingly towards His mother, who is likewise reaching to Him, with His hand on Simeon’s mouth because it was Simeon who prophesied that The Blessed Virgin would have her very soul pierced. He knew what had to happen, and what had to happen to her. Perhaps Giotto has depicted here Our Lord’s assurance to His mother of His consolation – that He would always proactively reach to her in love and help her through her sorrows and sufferings being prophesied to her in that moment – as He does to all of us.
[UPDATE: Maureen Mullarkey has a delightful survey of Presentation art up today at Rorate Caeli, and the squirmy, reluctant, “I WANT MAMMA!” Baby Jesus is a consistent feature.]
Shown on the far left is St. Joseph, holding the sacrifical dove – because the Holy Family was too poor to afford the normal lamb. On the far right is the elderly prophetess Anna.
Then again, I’m sure Pope Francis would find this whole scene revolting as these pharisaical lovers of the law cling to antiquated forms and practices in a self-absorbed display of faux-piety, idolatry and divination. Because remember, the only way to be truly pious is to be impious. The only way to truly love the law is to disregard it. The only genuine devotional practice is the opposition to tradition.
Let’s end with a quote about Candlemas from a devout Catholic, Jacobus de Voragine, from The Golden Legend, circa ARSH 1275.
…if we will appear in this feast tofore the face of God, pure and clean and acceptable, we ought to have in us three things which be signified by the candle burning: that is good deeds, true faith, with good works. And like as the candle without burning is dead, right so faith is dead without works as Saint James saith, for to believe in God without obeying his commandments profiteth nothing. And therefore saith Saint Gregory: The good work ought to show withoutforth that thy intention abide good withinforth the heart, without seeking within any vain glory to be allowed and praised. And by the fire is understood charity, of which God saith: I am come to put fire in the earth, and whom I will, I will burn.