This Thursday, 2nd February 2012, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, because we have the blessing at Mass on this day of candles for liturgical and devotional use.
It is 40 days since Christmas and so we commemorate Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to present him to God in the Temple, as their first-born child, along with two birds to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with the Law of Moses.
In the Gospel of the Mass (Luke 2:22-40), we read of Simeon and Anna, two elderly people who loved to be in the Temple, living in expectation of the coming of the Messiah. They recognised the One they were waiting for. Simeon's words recognise Jesus as the light, and hence the blessing of the candles today, reminding us that Christ is the light of the world. These were his words:
On this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Church is celebrating the Day of Consecrated Life, so we pray for all religious Sisters and Brothers, and all who are specially consecrated to the Lord, especially those in this parish and we pray for new vocations to religious life in Ireland.Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,just as you promised;because my eyes have seen the salvationwhich you have prepared for all the nations to see,a light to enlighten the pagansand the glory of your people Israel.'
Mass with blessing of candles in Sacred Heart Church on Thursday, 2nd February 2012 at 10am.
Here is a video clip of Sr Colette, Mother Abbess of the Poor Clares here in Galway, talking about vocation and prayer: