Thursday, February 04, 2010


The legend of the groundhog’s fear of his shadow finds its origin in the idea of light, not coming from the sun, but from Christ. So also, the thought of six weeks of winter comes from the idea that Candlemas generally marks the last echo of Christmas and looks toward the Lenten season of six weeks.

February 2nd is forty days from Christmas, and so on it we commemorate the day on which the Blessed Virgin came for purification after she gave birth, and to present the Christ Child, according to the law of Moses. The priest Simeon then took Him up in his arms and declared Him “a Light to lighten the Gentiles.”

At the Feast of Candlemas, therefore, everyone holds a candle for a procession prior to Mass, and then for lighting again during the Mass, from the Preface through the Consecration, a visually moving way of signifying the high point of the service.

This year I preached Candlemas twice, once on the day, and once on the day after. For some reason the second sermon wouldn't upload. But here's the first.

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