Thought for the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life
The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life invites all the Church to reflect on the role of Consecrated Life within the Christian community. Those who choose to live a consecrated life do so for the sake of the gospel.
Some Christian women and men respond to God’s call to become followers of Jesus through profession of vows and a life dedicated to prayer and service. They live out the consecrated life in different ways. Religious sisters, nuns, brothers, religious priests and monks consecrate their lives through their profession of the evangelical vows and live as part of a community. Secular institutes are another form of living the consecrated life as single people. Those who become followers of Jesus through the consecrated life bless the Church.
And so, as we think about the many ways in which we are called to love in ordinary ways and do it extraordinarily well, let us not forget those women and men who have responded to God’s call to serve as a consecrated religious. This day and Mass is dedicated to them throughout the world. On this World Day for Consecrated Life, may the lives of consecrated women and men be blessed with God’s overwhelming grace of love! May their lives inspire us to hear God’s vocational call. May this tune be forever in our minds and transform our hearts to say boldly:
“Here I am, Lord, send me!”
LET US PRAY FOR ALL CONSECRATED MEN & WOMEN AND FOR VOCATIONS:
Loving God, You call all who believe in You
to grow perfect in love
by following in the footsteps
of Christ Your Son.
Call from among us more men and women
who will serve You as religious.
Open the hearts of many, raise up
faithful servants of the Gospel, dedicated,
holy priests, sisters, brothers and deacons,
who will spend themselves for Your people
and their needs.
Bless those who are serving now
with courage and perseverance.
Grant that many will be inspired by their
example and faith.
By their way of life, may they provide a convincing sign
of Your Kingdom for the Church and the whole world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Quote of the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Come then, my brethren, give an eye to that candle burning in Simeon’s hands. Light your candles too by borrowing from that Light, for these candles I speak of are the lamps which the Lord orders us to have in our hands (Mt 25:1; Lk 12:35). Come to Him and be enlightened (Ps 34, 6), so as to be not merely carrying lamps but to be very lamps yourselves, shining inside and out, for yourselves and for your neighbours.
Be a lamp then in heart, in hand, in lips. The lamp in your heart will shine for you, the lamp in your hand or on your lips will shine out for your neighbours. T he lamp in the heart is loving faith, the lamp in the hand is the example of good works, the lamp on the lips is edifying speech. But not just before men must we shine by works and word but before angels too by prayer and before God Himself, by pure intention. Our lamp before the angels is the purity of our devotion when in the sight of angels we chant the psalms with care or pray with burning ardour, our lamp before God is the honesty of our intention to please Him only, whose approval we have won…
There are so many lamps then, my brethren, to lighten your way, if only you will come to the source of all light and be enlightened.
Come, I say, to Jesus who shines out to us from Simeon’s arms. He will give light to your faith, lustre to your works, meaning to your words for men, ardour to your prayer, purity to your intentions… And when this life’s lamp is extinguished there will arise a life’s light which can never be extinguished, a shimmering noonday light, arising as it were at the evening of your life.
Blessed Guerric of Igny O.Cist. (c 1080-1157)
One Minute Reflection – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Gospel: Luke 2:22–40 and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to thy people Israel.”...Luke 2:29-32
REFLECTION – “Those who have met Jesus no longer fear anything. We too can repeat the words of the elderly Simeon, he too was blessed by the encounter with Christ, after a lifetime spent in anticipation of this event: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation” (Lk 2:29-30). At that instant, at last, we will no longer need anything, we will no longer see in a confused way. We will no longer weep in vain, because all has passed, even the prophecies, even consciousness. But not love – this endures. Because “love never ends” (1 Cor 13:8).”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 25 October 2017
PRAYER – May the Lord renew in you and in all consecrated people each day the joyful response to His freely given and faithful love. Dear brothers and sisters, like lighted candles, always and everywhere shine with the love of Christ, Light of the world. May Mary Most Holy, the consecrated Woman, help you to live to the full, your special vocation and mission in the Church for the world’s salvation. And may we all follow our Lord in obedience. Amen!
Our Morning Offering – 2 February – The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Prayer for the Feast
of the Presentation of the Lord
By Abbot Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
O Blessed Mother,
the sword is already in your heart.
You foreknow the future
of the Fruit of your womb.
May our fidelity in following Him,
through the coming mysteries,
of His public life
bring some alleviations
to the sorrows
of your maternal heart.
The feast of Jesus’ presentation in the temple forty days after his birth, celebrated on 2 February, has a long history in the Eastern and Western Church.
The Mosaic law prescribed that every firstborn male in Israel had to be consecrated to God forty days after birth and redeemed with a sum deposited in the Temple treasury. This was in remembrance of the firstborn sons being preserved from death on the night of the first Passover during the exodus from Egypt. The Gospel according to St. Luke gives us this account of Jesus’ presentation in the Temple: when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.” St Joseph and our Lady entered the temple, unnoticed among the crowd. The “desired of all nations” came to the house of his Father in his Mother’s arms. The liturgy of this feast-day exhorts us, in the Responsorial Psalm, to adore the King of Glory in the heart of his humble family “Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.”
The Church of Jerusalem began the annual commemoration of this mystery in the 4th century. The feast was celebrated on 14 February forty days after the Epiphany because the Jerusalem liturgy had not yet adopted the Roman custom of celebrating Christmas on 25 December. That is why when this became the common custom throughout the whole Christian world, the feast of the Presentation was moved to 2 February and was soon celebrated throughout the entire East. In Byzantium, the emperor Justinian I introduced it in the 6th century, under the title “Hypapante” or “encounter,” referring to Jesus’ encounter with the aged Simeon, who was a figure of the just men of Israel who had patiently awaited the fulfilment of the messianic prophecies for so many years.
During the 7th century, the celebration also took root in the West. The widespread name of Candlemas comes from the tradition instituted by Pope Sergius I of having a procession with candles. As the elderly Simeon proclaimed, Jesus is the Saviour, prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles. In commemorating the arrival and manifestation of the divine light to the world, the Church each year blesses candles, symbol of Jesus’ perennial presence and the light of faith that the faithful receive in the sacrament of Baptism. The procession with lighted candles thus becomes an expression of Christian life: a pathway illuminated by the light of Christ.
The annual commemoration of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple is also a Marian celebration and therefore at certain times in the past it was also known as the feast of the Purification of Mary. Even though Mary was preserved by God from original sin, as a Hebrew mother she chose to submit to the Law of the Lord and therefore offered a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Mary’s offering was thus a sign of her prompt obedience to God’s commands.
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: The feast commemorates the purifying of the Blessed Virgin according to the Mosaic Law, 40 days after the birth of Christ and the presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple. The feast was introduced into the Eastern Empire by Emperor Justinian I and is mentioned in the Western Church in the Gelasian Sacramentary of the 7th century. Candles are blessed on that day in commemoration of the words of Holy Simeon concerning Christ “a light to the revelation of the Gentiles” (Luke 2) and a procession with lighted candles is held in the church to represent the entry of Christ, the Light of the World, into the Temple of Jerusalem. “Candlemas” is still the name in Scotland for a legal term-day on which interest and rents are payable (2 February).
• Jaro, Philippines
• Western Visayas, Philippines
Our Lady of the Candles – (formally known as Nuestra Señora de la Purificación y la Candelaria) is a Marian title and image venerated by Filipino Catholics. The image, which is enshrined on the balcony of Jaro Cathedral, is known as the patroness of Jaro District of Iloilo City and the whole of the Western Visayas.
The feast day of Our Lady of the Candles is on Candlemas (2 February) and is celebrated in Iloilo City with a Solemn Pontifical Mass presided by the Archbishop of Jaro. St Pope John Paul II personally issued a Canonical coronation towards the venerated image on 21 February 1981.
World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life: Begun in 1997 by St Pope John Paul II, the World Day for Consecrated Life was intended to serve three purposes:
• to praise the Lord and thank Him for the great gift of consecrated life;
• to promote a knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God;
• to allow those in consecrated life to celebrate together the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them, to discover by a more illumined faith the rays of divine beauty, spread by the Spirit in their way of life and to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission, in the Church and in the world;
It serves an opportunity to highlight the extraordinary contributions of men and women religious, as well as a time to pray for vocations to the consecrated life.
St Adalbald of Ostrevant
St Adeloga of Kitzingen
St Agathodoros of Tyana
St Andrea Carlo Ferrari
St Apronian the Executioner
St Bruno of Ebsdorf
St Burchard of Wurzburg
St St Candidus the Martyr
St Columbanus of Ghent
St Cornelius the Centurion
St Felician the Martyr
St Firmus of Rome
St Flosculus of Orléans
St Fortunatus the Martyr
St Giovanni Battista Clemente Saggio
St Hilarus the Martyr
St Jean Theophane Venard
St Jeanne de Lestonnac
St Lawrence of Canterbury
Bl Louis Alexander Alphonse Brisson
Bl Maria Domenica Mantovani
St Marquard of Hildesheim
Bl Peter Cambiano
St Rogatus the Martyr
St Saturninus the Martyr
St Sicharia of Orleans
St Simon of Cassia Fidati
Bl Stephen Bellesini
St Theodoric of Ninden
St Victoria the Martyr
Martyrs of Ebsdorf: Members of the army of King Louis III of France under the leadership of Duke Saint Bruno of Ebsdorf. The martyrs died fighting invading pagan Norsemen, and defending the local Christian population. Four bishops, including Saint Marquard of Hildesheim and Saint Theodoric of Ninden, eleven nobles, and countless unnamed foot soldiers died repelling the invaders. They were martyred in the winter of 880 in battle at Luneberg Heath and Ebsdorf, Saxony (modern Germany).