The Church has many beautiful feasts, many of which have been lost. Today is one of the richest and the liturgy provides us with a wonderful way of celebrating. The feast of the Presentation of the Lord is also known as Candlemas and it is the day we traditionally bless candles at Mass, light them and have processions. We all love candlelight processions, there is something so simple and wondrous about them. I hear time and time again from people who go to Lourdes, Fatima or Knock during the novena in August, that the candlelight procession touched them deeply.
The candles, of course, reflect the words of Simeon in the Temple, hailing Jesus as the "Light to enlighten the Gentiles" - the Light who has come into the world, and so the liturgy bears witness to this Light with the blessing and lighting of candles.
Today's feast reminds us that we do not have to add anything to the liturgy - everything is there, it is already meaningful: if our people do not see that meaning that is our fault, they have not been catechised properly. I hope the new translation of the Missal will lead us to a rediscovery of the riches of the liturgy and gradually wean us off the questionable paraliturgies.
Today is also the day we pray in a special way for those consecrated in religious life through the profession of the evangelical counsels - it is the Church's official Day for Consecrated Life. So pray for all our religious priests, nuns, sisters, monks and brothers, and also those lay people and diocesan clergy consecrated under promises and vows. As an act of love today, if you see a nun, run over and give her a big kiss and wish her a happy feast day. If you don't end up behind bars, the gesture might just be appreciated. So, if I may paraphrase Willie Nelson's wonderful song: "To all the nuns I've loved before...God bless you sister!" Ditto to the brothers and priests, but no kisses!
Happy feast day sisters....always wanted an excuse to post this picture!