Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Story of the Presentation

Presentation of Our Lord by Fra Angelico
Candlemas is my favorite Christmastide feast day. I love the procession, the music, the prayers, the end of one season and the beginning of the next. The story is equally edifying.

Simeon was one of God's servants, and as a reward for his faithful life, God promised that he would see the Savior before he died. As soon as the infant Jesus was carried into the Temple, Simeon took Him in his arms, and sang a praise to God. This is one of the hymns that is sung during the lighting of the candles.
"Now you can dismiss your servant in peace, O Lord, according to your word. Because my eyes have seen your salvation: that you have prepared before the face of all the peoples. A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."
Singing these words in Latin, with the Gregorian chant melody raising my mind to levels of contemplation long after the Mass is over, is one of the (only) highlights of February.

The Bible story can be found in Luke 2:21-40.