Introit

Introit
Traditional Mass

Saturday, February 02, 2013

PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY — CANDLEMAS DAY February 2 Commentary



"They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord—as it is written in the Law of the Lord." St. Luke, 2:22.

In the life of St. Dunstan who was born in 910, we read an interesting incident. In fact, this happened even before Dunstan was born. On the feast of the Purification the people went with their usual devotion to the Church of Our Lady. The father and mother of Dunstan were there. All the congregation held lighted candles as they assisted at Solemn Mass. Suddenly, as the Gospel was being read, all the lights in the church went out, including those in the hands of the people.

In the excitement they noticed a candle in the hand of Dunstan's expectant mother. 
It was lit. From this one light the congregation again re-lit their candles.


Something like this is expressed in the feast of the Purification, the feast we keep on February 2. St. Luke, 2:22, tells us the story. After Mary had fulfilled all the days of her purification  according to the law, Joseph and Mary carried Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord, for it was the law that every first male child should be called holy to the Lord. It was also the law to offer a sacrifice, and they offered a pair of turtle doves. In Jerusalem at that time there was a holy man named Simeon. He was just and devout, waiting for the coming Messias. The Holy Spirit was really in him; that Spirit had told him he would not die until he had seen the Christ, the Lord. He was in the temple at the time and when the parents of Jesus brought in the little Child to do what the law required, this old man took Jesus into his arms, 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 of revelation to the Gentiles, and a glory for thy people Israel." St. Luke, 2:29-32.

Jesus is the Light of the world, as He said Himself: "I am the Light of the world. He that followeth me walketh not in darkness but shall have the light of life." St. John, 8:12.

The Purification is the feast of the Light of the world. We then bless candles, which are symbols of that Light. We place them upon our altars, we carry them in procession, we take them into our homes, to represent Christ, the Light of the world. We do this on February 2 to remind ourselves again .that Mary actually carried the Light of the world in the flesh— into the temple. In presenting Jesus, the Light of the world, to the temple and to the hearts of men, Mary showed certain virtues.
I.   She was a model of obedience:
A. This obedience was difficult. Mary had to appear before the priest
in the temple as an act of legal purification.

B. This was blind obedience.  She submitted to the letter of the law,
although she was not strictly bound to that ordinance.

C. This was big-hearted obedience.   By doing more than her duty
demanded, Mary showed her burning love for God.

II. In the Purification Mary showed the deepest humility:
A. By her virginity.   She preferred not to appear superior to other
women, but chose to appear in the eyes of the world, as long as God
willed it, less pure than she really was.

B. By her holiness. Although she was the purest and holiest of crea-­
tures, Mary, on her knees, begged the priest in the temple to pray
for her.

C. By her divine motherhood. There was nothing external to distin­-
guish Mary from all sinful mothers,  even though she was the
mother of God. But that was because of the greater delight on the
part of God, and because the Almighty had regarded the humility
of His handmaid. Therefore, all generations will call her blessed.

III.  Mary, in the Purification, is also a model of the most burning love:
A. She offered up her divine Son. She offered Jesus, the only delight
of her heart, not as a mere ceremony but as a sacrifice in the strict­-
est sense. She offered Him that He might suffer and die and fulfill
all that the prophet had foretold about Him.

B. Out of love Mary brought Jesus back by the sacrifice of the turtle
doves.

C. Joyfully and tenderly she carried Him home.

Here we see the three ways in which we can and must offer Jesus, the Light of the world, to the people of the world:
A. By obedience to the laws of Christ's Church we offer Him to the world.

B.  By humility, we admit that we are nothing and Christ is all. No matter what our virtues, or our privileges of grace, or our success, even in spiritual matters, we are still nothing and capable of nothing in the sight of the all holy God.

C. By love and by love alone we can win the world. That love is proven by sacrifice. Every act of religion in a sense savors of sacrifice—a giving that is done joyfully, just as Mary made her sacrifice joyfully.

In the story of the Purification we find inspiration for these simple, humble virtues which Mary had and which we also want to have, even in our limited way.

They were the virtues of St. Dunstan and his mother. They are the virtues of all true followers of Jesus and Mary. They are the virtues of all who really show Christ to the world. How the world needs that Light today!

Christ will light up the world if we bring Him to the world, yes, if only to that little world where most of us live. Amen.

[Adapted from Unknown Source]