February 2, 2020
The Fortieth Day of Christmas is Candlemas, on which took place the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem. The son is brought into His Father’s house. God made-man enters the place where man offers sacrifice to God. The Blessed Virgin offers her First-born to the service of God. Because of this mystery, St. John Paul II declared this a day dedicated to Consecrated Life.
The holy man Simeon was waiting for this moment, when the Messiah would be revealed, and he speaks the canticle which the Church will sing at the conclusion of every day. “…My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light of revelation to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” (Night Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours). To this statement Our Lord Himself would soon add his own authority, standing in front of the great candelabra in the Temple and say, “I am the Light of the World.” Those who are in Consecrated Life are called in a unique way to imitate this Light for the world.
It is fitting that as far back as the 5th century, the Church would bless candles on this day. Candles, besides their practical use of bringing light into the darkness, are a symbol of Christ, “The wax, being spotless, represents Christ’s most spotless Body; the wick enclosed in it is an image of His Soul, while the glowing flame typifies the Divine Nature united with the human in one Divine Person.”
May we all burn brightly with that divinity, that we may be a light in the darkness.