The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(also called Candlemas)
"The wax of the candles signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant," says St. 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 by 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 second Sunday), or in the midst of the multitude, when He spreads the light of His doctrine (Gospel of the fifth and sixth Sundays).
We have received Thy Mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple; according to Thy Name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of justice. * Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of God, in His Holy Mountain.
(Psalm 47:10-11,2 from the Introit of Mass)
Omnipotens sempiterna Deus, majestatem, tuam supplices exoramus ut, sicut unigenitus Filius tuus hodierna die cum nostrae carnis substantia in templo est praesentatur: ita nos facias purificatis tibi mentibus praesentari.
O almighty and everlasting God, we humbly beseech Thy majesty; that as Thine only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so too Thou wouldst grant us to be presented unto Thee with purified souls.