February 2nd this year falls on a Sunday. It is a day full of spiritual riches:
It is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord; It is “Candlemas Day”; It is World Day of Prayer for the Consecrated Life.
Under the Mosaic Law on the fortieth day after childbirth mothers have to go to the Temple for a rite of Purification. February 2nd then became the feast of the Purification of Mary, mother of the Redeemer. Since the liturgical changes (1969) the focus of the feast has changed to emphasize the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.
Jesus, the true Light of the world, comes into the Temple as a tiny child and the Liturgy marks the entrance of the Light of the world by blessing candles for use in prayer and worship. Hence this day is also known as “Candlemas Day”.
Our Mass today begins with the blessing of candles to be used in the church or at home , symbols of Christ the Light and of our vocation to be a light to others.
In 1997 Blessed John Paul introduced a World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life and connected it with this feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In doing so he drew attention to the gift of Consecrated Life in the Church: Religious men and women committed to living the evangelical counsels in communities and in apostolic institutions, bringing Light by their lives and service.
Religious Life reminds the Church and the World of how Mary, the Consecrated Woman par excellence, carried in her arms the Light Himself, the Incarnate word who came to dispel the darkness of the world with God’s love.
As we welcome the Light of Christ today, we can pray for Consecrated Men in the Archdiocese: Apostles of Jesus, Capuchins, Carmelites, Christian Brothers, Jesuits, Marists, Missionaries of Compassion, Scalabrinis, Missionaries of St Francis de Sales, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Norbertines, Pallottines, Redemptorists, Salesians and St Patrick Missionary Society.
And for Consecrated women: Carmelites, Dominicans, Holy Cross Sisters, Little company of Anawim, Little Sisters of Jesus, Loreto Sisters, Missionaries of Charity, Nazareth Sisters, Oblate Sisters of St Francis de Sales, Pallottine Sisters, Salesian Sisters, Schoenstatt Sisters and Secular Institute.
Let us not forget the hidden lives of all Consecrated Virgins in the diocese.
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.