Monday, January 31, 2011

Candlemas: Presentation of Jesus in the Temple


The Presentation in the Temple: Simeon (holding Jesus) and Anna (on the right); Mary with the two turtle doves and Joseph. (I've been unable to locate the source of the image.)

Wednesday of this week, February 2, is the
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. On the pre-Conciliar liturgical calendar it was the Feast of the Presentation that ended the Christmas season and in the Archdiocese of Boston this date was, years ago, often the date of ordination to the priesthood.  (Ad multos annos to those celebrating anniversaries!)

Luke is the gospel source for this event in the life of the Holy Family.
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord just as it is written in the law of the Lord... and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves..." Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." ...There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
This feast is sometimes called Candlemas Day because on this day there may be a blessing of candles and a procession. There's a tie between the candles and the phrase, a light for revelation to the Gentiles in Simeon's canticle in Luke's gospel.

While there's a significant amount of art based on the theme of this day's feast, Anna is sometimes absent where Simeon is prominently featured. The image above includes Mary and Joseph and both Simeon, the holy man, and Anna, the prophet. Here's a quilted image of Anna where she seems ready to run from the temple to invite others to
Come, Listen and Rejoice for salvation has come for all!


Anna the Prophetess by Larkin Jean Van Horn

And don't miss Phil's fine post on Candlemas, St. Brigid Day and Groundhog Day - over at Blue Eyed Ennis!

 
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1 comment:

Philomena Ewing said...

Austin, Thanks for the plug to my post !