This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Thursday, 2 February 2017

2nd February, The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(also called Candlemas)

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 seventh century it ranked after the Assumption. The feast is kept on February 2, because Mary, wishing to obey the Mosaic law, had to go to Jerusalem forty days after the birth of Jesus (December 25th, February 2nd) to offer the prescribed sacrifices. Mothers were to offer a lamb, or if their means did not allow, "two doves or two young pigeons".
The blessed Virgin 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 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 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).

Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio temple tui: secundum nomen tuum, Deus, ita et laus tua in fines terrae, justitiam plena est dextera tua * Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis: in civitate Dei nostri; in monte sancto ejus.
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.

The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time, after the days of Mary's purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Jesus to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord; as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord ; and to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons. And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was in him : and he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he also took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: 'Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.'
(St Luke 2:22- 32)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on Candlemas:

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