Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary - February 2nd
February 2 – The Purification of the Blessed Virgin
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

[Image: ?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.traditioninaction.or...f=1&nofb=1]

The Forty Days of Mary’s Purification are now completed, and she must go up to the Temple, there to offer to God her Child Jesus. Before following the Son and his Mother in this their mysterious journey, let us spend our last few moments at Bethlehem, in lovingly pondering over the mysteries at which we are going to assist.

The Law commanded that a woman who had given birth to a son should not approach the Tabernacle for the term of forty days, after which time she was to offer up a lamb as a holocaust, and a turtle or dove as a sin offering. But if she were poor, and could not provide a lamb, she was to offer, in its stead, a second turtle or dove.

By another ordinance of the Law, every first-born son was to be considered as belonging to God, and was to be redeemed by five sicles, each sicle weighing, according to the standard of the Temple, twenty obols.

Mary was a Daughter of Israel — she had given Birth to Jesus — he was her First-born Son. Could such a Mother, and such a Son, be included in the Laws we have just quoted? Was it becoming that Mary should observe them?

If she considered the spirit of these legal enactments, and why God required the ceremony of Purification, it was evident that she was not bound to them. They, for whom these Laws had been made, were espoused to men; — Mary was the chaste Spouse of the Holy Ghost, a Virgin in conceiving, and a Virgin in giving Birth to, her Son; her purity had ever been spotless as that of the Angels — but it received an incalculable increase by her carrying the God of all sanctity in her womb, and bringing him into this world. Moreover, when she reflected upon her Child being the Creator and sovereign Lord of all things — how could she suppose that he was to be submitted to the humiliation of being ransomed as a slave, whose life and person are not his own?

And yet, the Holy Spirit revealed to Mary, that she must comply with both these Laws. She, the holy Mother of God, must go to the Temple like other Hebrew mothers, as though she had lost a something which needed restoring by a legal sacrifice. He, that is the Son of God and Son of Man, must be treated in all thing’s as though, he were a Servant, and be ransomed in common with the poorest Jewish boy. Mary adores the will of God, and embraces it with her whole heart.

The Son of God was not to be made known to the world but by gradual revelations. For thirty years, he leads a hidden life in the insignificant village of Nazareth; and during all that time, men took him to be the son of Joseph. It was only in his thirtieth year that John the Baptist announced him, and then only in mysterious words, to the Jews, who flocked to the Jordan, there to receive from the Prophet the baptism of penance. Our Lord himself gave the next revelation—the testimony of his wonderful works and miracles. Then came the humiliations of his Passion and Death, followed by his glorious Resurrection, which testified to the truth of his prophecies, proved the infinite merits of his Sacrifice, and, in a word, proclaimed his Divinity. The earth has possessed its God and its Savior for three-and-thirty years, and men, with a few exceptions, knew it not. The Shepherds of Bethlehem knew it; but they were not told, as were afterwards the Fishermen of Genesareth, to go and preach the Word to the furthermost parts of the world. The Magi, too, knew it; they came to Jerusalem and spoke of it, and the City was in a commotion; but all was soon forgotten, and the Three Kings went back quietly to the East. These two events (which would, at a future day, be celebrated by the Church as events of most important interest to mankind), were lost upon the world, and the only ones that appreciated them were a few true Israelites who had been living in expectation of a Messias, who was to be poor and humble, and was to save the world. The majority of the Jews would not even listen to the Messias’ having been born; for Jesus was born at Bethlehem, and the Prophets had distinctly foretold that the Messias was to be called a Nazarene.

The same Divine plan — which had required that Mary should be espoused to Joseph, in order that her fruitful Virginity might not seem strange in the eyes of the people — now obliged her to come, like other Israelite mothers, to offer the sacrifice of Purification, for the Birth of the Son, whom she had conceived by the operation of the power of the Holy Ghost, but who was to be presented in the Temple as the Son of Mary, the Spouse of Joseph. Thus it is, that Infinite Wisdom delights in showing that his thoughts are not our thoughts, and in disconcerting our notions; he claims the submissiveness of our confidence, until the time come that he has fixed for withdrawing the veil, and showing himself to our astonished view.

The Divine Will was dear to Mary in this as in every circumstance of her life. The Holy Virgin knew, that by seeking this external rite of Purification, she was in no wise risking the honour of her Child, or failing in the respect due to her own Virginity. She was in the Temple of Jerusalem what she was in the house of Nazareth, when she received the Archangel’s visit — she was the Handmaid of the Lord. (Luke 1:38) She obeyed the Law, because she seemed to come under the Law. Her God and her Son submitted to the ransom as humbly as the poorest Hebrew would have to do; he had already obeyed the edict of the emperor Augustus, in the general census; he was to be obedient even unto death, even to the death of the Cross. The Mother and the Child, both humbled themselves in the Purification, and man’s pride received, on that day, one of the greatest lessons ever given it. 

What a journey was this of Mary and Joseph, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem! The Divine Babe is in his Mother’s arms — she had him on her heart the whole way. Heaven, and earth, and all nature, are sanctified by the gracious presence of their merciful Creator. Men look at this Mother as she passes along the road with her sweet Jesus; some are struck with her appearance, others pass her by as not worth a look; but of the whole crowd, there was not one that knew he had been so close to the God, who had come to save him.

Joseph is carrying the humble offering, which the Mother is to give to the Priest. They are too poor to buy a lamb — besides, their Jesus is the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The Law required that a Turtle, or Dove, should be offered in the place of a lamb, when the Mother was poor. Innocent birds! emblems of purity, fidelity, and simplicity. Joseph has also provided the five Sides, the ransom to be given for the First-born Son — Mary’s only Son, who has vouchsafed to make us his Brethren, and, by adopting our nature, to render us partakers of his.

At length, the Holy Family enters Jerusalem. The name of this holy City signifies Vision of Peace; and Jesus comes to bring her Peace. Let us consider the names of the three places in which our Redeemer began, continued, and ended his life on earth. He is conceived at Nazareth, which signifies a Flower; and Jesus is, as he tells us in the Canticle, the Flower of the field and the Lily of the valley, by whose fragrance we are refreshed. He is born at Bethlehem, the House of Bread; for he is the nourishment of our souls. He dies on the Cross in Jerusalem, and by his Blood he restores peace between heaven and earth, peace between men, peace within our own souls; and on this day of his Mother’s Purification, we shall find him giving us the pledge of this peace.

Whilst Mary, the Living Ark of the Covenant, is ascending the steps, which lead up to the Temple, carrying Jesus in her arms, let us be attentive to the mystery — one of the most celebrated of the prophecies is about to be accomplished, one of the principal characters of the Messias is about to be shown as belonging to this Infant. We have already had the other predictions fulfilled, of his being conceived of a Virgin, and born in Bethlehem ; to-day, he shows us a further title to our adoration — he enters the Temple.

This edifice is not the magnificent Temple of Solomon, which was destroyed by fire during the Jewish captivity. It is the Second Temple, which was built after the return from Babylon, and is not comparable to the First in beauty. Before the century is out, it also is to be destroyed; and our Savior will soon tell the Jews that not a stone shall remain on stone that shall not be thrown down. Now, the Prophet Aggeus—in order to console the Jews, who had returned from banishment, and were grieving because they were unable to raise a House to the Lord equal in splendor to that built by Solomon—addressed these words to them, which mark the time of the coming of the Messias: “Take courage, O Zorobabel, saith the Lord; and take courage, O Jesus, the son of Josedec, the High Priest; and take courage, all ye people of the land;—for this saith the Lord of hosts: Yet one little while, and I will move the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will move all nations, and the Desired of all nations shall come; and I will fill this House with glory.—Great shall be the glory of this House, more than of the first; and in this place I will give Peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”

The hour is come for the fulfillment of this prophecy. The Emmanuel has left Bethlehem ; he has come among the people; he is about to take possession of his Temple, and the mere fact of his entering it, will straightways give it a glory, which is far above that of its predecessor. He will often visit it during his mortal life; but his coming to it to-day, carried as he is in Mary’s arms, is enough for the accomplishment of the promise, and all the shadows and figures of this Temple at once pale before the rays of the Sun of Truth and Justice. The blood of oxen and goats will, for a few years more, flow on its altar; but the Infant, who holds in his veins the Blood that is to redeem the world, is, at this moment, standing near that very Altar. Amidst the Priests who are there, and amidst the crowd of Israelites who are moving to and fro in the sacred building, there are a few faithful ones, who are in expectation of the Deliverer, and they know that the time of his manifestation is at hand; — but there is not one among them all, who knows, that at that very moment, this expected Messias is under the same roof with himself.

But, this great event could not be accomplished, without a prodigy being wrought by the Eternal God, as a welcome to his Son. The Shepherds had been summoned by the Angel, and the Magi had been called by the Star, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem: this time, it is the Holy Ghost himself who sends a witness to the Infant, now in the great Temple.

There was then living in Jerusalem an old man whose life was well nigh spent. He was a Man of desires, and his name was Simeon; his heart had longed unceasingly for the Messias, and at last, his hope was recompensed. The Holy Ghost revealed to him that he should not see death without first seeing the rising of the Divine Light. As Mary and Joseph were ascending the steps of the Temple to take Jesus to the Altar, Simeon felt within himself the strong impulse of the Spirit of God; he leaves his house, and walks towards the Temple; the ardor of his desire makes him forget the feebleness of age. He reaches the porch of God’s House—and there, amidst the many mothers who had come to present their children, his inspired gaze recognizes the Virgin, of whom he had so often read in Isaias, and he presses through the crowd to the Child she is holding in her arms.

Mary, guided by the same Divine Spirit, welcomes the saintly old man, and puts into his trembling arms the dear object of her love, the Salvation of the world. Happy Simeon! figure of the ancient world, grown old in its expectation, and near its end. No sooner has he received the sweet Fruit of Life than his youth is renewed as that of the eagle, and in his person is wrought the transformation which was to be granted to the whole human race. He cannot keep silence—he must sing a Canticle—he must do as the Shepherds and Magi had done, he must give testimony: “Now,” says he, “now, O Lord, thou dost dismiss thy servant in Peace, because my eyes have seen thy Salvation, which thou hast prepared—a Light that is to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to thy people Israel.”

Immediately, there comes, attracted to the spot by the same Holy Spirit, the holy Anna, Phanuel’s daughter, noted for her piety, and venerated by the people on account of her great age. Simeon and Anna, the representatives of the Old Testament, unite their voices, and celebrate the happy coming of the Child who is to renew the face of the earth; they give praise to the mercy of Jehovah, who, in this place, in this Second Temple, gives Peace to the world, as the Prophet Aggeus (Haggai) had foretold.

This was the Peace so looked forward to by Simeon, and now, in this Peace will he sleep. Now, O Lord, as he says in his Canticle, thou dost dismiss thy servant, according to thy word, in Peace! His soul, quitting is bond of the flesh, will now hasten to the bosom of Abraham, and bear to the elect, who rest there, the tidings that Peace has appeared on the earth, and will soon open heaven. Anne has some years still to pass on earth; as the Evangelist tells us, she has to go and announce the fulfilment of the promises to such of the Jews as were spiritually minded, and looked for the Redemption of Israel. The divine seed is sown; the Shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, and Anne, have all been its sowers; it will spring up in due time; and when our Jesus has spend his thirty years of hidden life in Nazareth, and shall come for the harvest time, he will say to his Disciples: Lift up your eyes, and see the countries, for they are white already for the harvest: pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he send laborers into his harvest.

Simeon gives back to Mary the Child she is going to offer to the Lord. The two Doves are presented to the Priest, who sacrifices them on the Altar; the price for the ransom is paid; the whole law is satisfied; and, after having paid her homage to her Creator in this sacred place, where she spent her early years, Mary, with Jesus fastly pressed to her  bosom, and her faithful Joseph by her side, leaves the Temple.

Such is the mystery of this fortieth day, which closes, by this admirable Feast of the Purification, the holy season of Christmas. Several learned writers, among whom we may mention Henschenius and Pope Benedict the Fourteenth, are of opinion that this Solemnity was instituted by the Apostles themselves. This much is certain, that it was a long-established Feast even in the fifth century.

The Greek Church and the Church of Milan count this Feast among those of our Lord; but the Church of Rome has always considered it as a Feast of the Blessed Virgin. It is true, it is our Saviour who is this day offered in the Temple; but this offering is the consequence of our Lady’s Purification. The most ancient of the Western Martyrologies and Calendars call it The Purification. The honour thus paid by the Church to the Mother, tends, in reality, to the greater glory of her Divine Son, for He is the Author and the End of all those prerogatives which we revere and honour in Mary.

[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.istockphoto.com%2...f=1&nofb=1]


The holy Church sings, in this Office, the celebrated Antiphons of the Feast of the Circumcision, which speak of the great Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, and of Mary’s fruitful Virginity. “We give the Psalms in the Second Vespers, inasmuch as they are more generally assisted at by the Faithful than the First.

Ant. O admirable Interchange! The Creator of mankind, assuming a living Body, deigned to be born of a Virgin; and becoming Man, without man’s aid, bestowed on us his Divinity.

Psalm, Dixit Dominus

Ant. When thou wast born ineffably of the Virgin, the Scriptures were fulfilled. As dew upon Gedeon’s Fleece, thou earnest down to save mankind. O Lord, our God! we praise thee.

Psalm, Laudate pueri

Ant. In the bush seen by Moses as burning yet unconsumed, we recognize the preservation of thy glorious Virginity. Mother of God, intercede for us.

Psalm, Lætatus sum.

Ant. The Root of Jesse hath budded; the Star hath risen out of Jacob; a Virgin hath brought forth the Saviour. O Lord our God! we praise thee.

Psalm, Nisi Dominus

Ant. Lo! Mary hath brought forth a Saviour unto us, whom John seeing, exclaimed: Behold the Lamb of God! Behold him that taketh away the sins of the world. Alleluia.

Psalm, Lauda Jerusalem

The Capitulum is the prophecy of Malachy, announcing the coming of the Lord, the Angel of the Testament, into his Temple. The prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Mary’s Purification.
(Malachi 3)

Behold I send my Angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face.. And presently the Lord, whom ye seek, and the Angel of the testament, whom ye desire, shall come to his holy Temple.

(Ave Maris Stella)

Ave, maris stella,
Dei mater alma,
atque semper virgo,
felix cœli porta. Sumens illud «Ave»

Gabrielis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Evæ nomen. 

Solve vincla reis,
profer lumen cæcis,
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce. 

Monstra te esse matrem,
sumat per te precem
qui pro nobis natus
tulit esse tuus. 

Virgo singularis,
inter omnes mitis,
nos culpis solutos
mites fac et castos. 

Vitam præsta puram,
iter para tutum,
ut videntes Jesum
semper collætemur. 

Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto
tribus honor unus. Amen 

Hail, star of the sea,
Nurturing Mother of God,
And ever Virgin
Happy gate of Heaven

Receiving that “Ave” (hail)
From the mouth of Gabriel,
Establish us in peace,
Transforming the name of “Eva” (Eve).

Loosen the chains of the guilty,
Send forth light to the blind,
Our evil do thou dispel,
Entreat (for us) all good things.

Show thyself to be a Mother:
Through thee may he receive prayer
Who, being born for us,
Undertook to be thine own.

O unique Virgin,
Meek above all others,
Make us, set free from (our) sins,
Meek and chaste.

Bestow a pure life,
Prepare a safe way:
That seeing Jesus,
We may ever rejoice. 

Praise be to God the Father,
To the Most High Christ (be) glory,
To the Holy Spirit
(Be) honour, to the Three equally. Amen

℣. Simeon had received an answer from the Holy Ghost,
℟. That he should not see death, before he had seen Christ of the Lord.


Ant. The old man carried the Child, but the Child guided the old man. A Virgin bore him, and, after childbirth, continued a Virgin : she adored Him, whom she brought forth.


Almighty and Eternal God, we humbly beseech thy divine Majesty, that as thy only Son, in the substance of our flesh, was this day presented in the temple, so our souls, being perfectly cleansed, may become a pure oblation, and presented to thee. Through the same, etc.

[Image: ?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.stmichaelsmountdinha...f=1&nofb=1]
Blessing of the Candles
After Tierce follows the Blessing of the Candles, which is one of the three principal ones observed by the Church during the year; the other two are the Blessing of the Ashes, and the Blessing of the Palms. The signification of this ceremony bears so essential a connection with the mystery of our Lady’s Purification that if Septuagesima, Sexagesima, or Quinquagesima Sunday fall on the 2nd of February, the Feast is deferred to tomorrow; but the Blessing of the Candles, and the Procession which follows it, always take place on this precise day.

In order to give uniformity to the three great Blessings of the year, the Church prescribes for that of the Candles the same color for the vestments of the sacred Ministers, as is used in the two other Blessings of the Ashes and Palms—namely Purple. Thus this solemn function, which is inseparable from the day on which our Lady’s Purification took place, may be gone through every year on the 2nd of February without changing the color prescribed for the three Sundays just mentioned.

It is exceedingly difficult to say what was the origin of this ceremony. Baronius, Thomassin, and others, are of opinion, that it was instituted towards the close of the 5th century, by Pope St. Gelasius, in order to give a christian meaning to certain vestiges, still retained by the Romans, of the old Lupercalia. St. Gelasius certainly did abolish the last vestiges of the feast of the Lupercalia, which, in earlier times, the Pagans used to celebrate in the month of February. — Pope Innocent the Third, in one of his Sermons for the Feast of the Purification, attributes the institution of this ceremony of Candlemas to the wisdom of the Roman Pontiffs, who turned into the present religious rite the remnants of an ancient pagan custom, which had not quite died out among the Christians. The old Pagans, he says, used to carry lighted torches in memory of those which the fable gives to Ceres, when she went to the top of Mount Etna in search of her daughter Proserpine. But against this, we have to object, that on the pagan Calendar of the Romans, there is no mention of any feast in honour of Ceres, for the month of February. — We, therefore, prefer adopting the opinion of Dom Hugh Menard, Rocca, Henschenius, and Pope Benedict the Fourteenth; that an ancient feast, which was kept in February, and was called the Amburbalia, during which the pagans used to go through the city with lighted torches in their hands, gave occasion to the Sovereign Pontiffs to substitute, in its place, a Christian ceremony, which they attached to the Feast of that sacred mystery, in which Jesus, the Light of the world, was presented in the Temple by his Virgin-Mother.

The mystery of today’s ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to St. Ivo of Chartres, the wax—which is formed from the juice of flowers by the bee (which has always been considered as the emblem of virginity)—signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, who diminished not, either by his conception or his birth, the spotless purity of his Blessed Mother. The same holy Bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus, who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the same mystery, bids us consider three things in the blessed Candle: the Wax, the Wick, and the Flame. The Wax, he says, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the Wick, which is within, is his Soul; the Flame, which burns on the top, is his Divinity.

Formerly, the Faithful looked upon it as an honour to be permited to bring their wax tapers to the Church, on this Feast of the Purification, that they might be blessed together with those, which were to be borne in the procession by the Priests and sacred Ministers; and the same custom is still observed in some congregations. It would be well if Pastors were to encourage this practice, retaining it where it exists, or establishing it where it is not known. There has been such a systematic effort made to destroy, or, at least, to impoverish the exterior rites and practices of religion, that we find, throughout the world, thousands of Christians who have been insensibly made strangers to those admirable sentiments of faith, which the Church alone, in her Liturgy, can give to the body of the Faithful. Thus, we shall be telling many what they have never heard before, when we inform them, that the Church blesses the Candles to-day, not only to be carried in the Procession, which forms part of the ceremony, but, also, for the use of the Faithful, inasmuch as they draw, upon such as use them with respect, whether on sea or on land, (as the Church says in the Prayer,) special blessings from heaven. These blest Candles ought, also, to be lit near the bed of the dying Christian, as a symbol of the immortality merited for us by Christ, and of the protection of our Blessed Lady.

As soon as all is prepared, the Priest goes up to the Altar, and thus begins the Blessing of the Candles.

℣. Dominus Vobiscum.
℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, qui omnia ex nihilo creasti, et jussu tuo per opera spum hunc liquorem ad perfectionem cerei pervenire fecisti; et qui hodierna die petitionem justi Simeonis implesti: te humiliter deprecamur, ut has candelas ad usus hominum, et sanitatem corporum et animarum, sive in terra, sive in aquis, per invocationem tui sancti Nominis, et per intercessionem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, cujus hodie festa devote celebrantur, et per preces omnium Sanctorum tuorum, bene✠dicere et sancti✠ficere ✠ digneris; et hujus plebis tuæ, quæ illas honorifice in manibus desiderat portare, teque cantando laudare, exaudias voces de cœlo sancto tuo, et de sede Majestatis tuæ; et propitius sis omnibus clamantibus ad te, quos redemisti pretioso sanguine Filii tui, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.
Holy Lord, Father Almighty and Eternal God, who didst create all things out of nothing and by the labor of the bees, following thy commands, hast brought this liquor to the perfection of wax; and who, on this day, didst accomplish the desire of the righteous Simeon; we humbly beseech thee, that by the invocation of thy most holy name, and by the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, whose festival we this day devoutly celebrate, and by the prayers of all thy Saints, thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless ✠ and sanctify ✠ these candles, for the service of men, and for the good of their bodies and souls in all places, whether on sea, or on land; and that thou wouldst please mercifully to hear from thy holy temple, and from the throne of thy majesty, the prayers of this thy people, who desire to carry them in their hands with reverence, and with sacred hymns to praise thy name; and show mercy to all that cry out unto thee, whom thou hast redeemed by the precious blood of thy beloved Son: who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
℟. Amen.

Omnipotens, sempiterne Deus, qui, hodierna die, Unigenitum tuum, ulnis sancti Simeonis in Templo sancto tuo suscipiendum præsentasti: tuam supplices deprecamur clementiam, ut has candelas, quas nos famuli tui, in tui Nominis magnificentiam suscipientes, gestare cupimus luce accensas, bene✠dicere et sancti✠ficere ✠, atque lumine supernæ benedictionis accendere digneris; quatenus eas tibi Domino nostro offerendo, digni et sancto igne dulcissimæ charitatis tuæ succensi, in Templo sancto gloriæ repræsentari mereamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. 
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.
O Almighty and Eternal God, who on this day wast please that thy only Son should be presented in the temple, and be received into the arms of holy Simeon: we humbly beseech thy mercy to bless ✠, sanctify ✠, and give the light of thy heavenly benediction to these candles, which we thy servants desire to carry in honor of thy name: that by offering them to thee, our Lord God, we may be inflamed by the fire of thy sweet love, and made worthy to be presented in the holy temple of thy glory. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

Domine Jesu Christe, lux vera, quæ illuminas omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum: effunde bene✠dictionem tuam super hos cereos, et sancti✠fica eos lumine gratiæ tuæ; et concede propitius, ut sicut hæc luminaria, igne visibili accensa, nocturnas depellunt tenebras, ita corda nostra invisibili igne, id est Sancti Spiritus splendore illustrata, omnium vitiorum cæcitate careant: ut purgato mentis oculo, ea cernere possimus quæ tibi sunt placita, et nostræ saluti utilia; quatenus post hujus sæculi caliginosa discrimina, ad lucem indeficientem pervenire mereamur. Per te, Christe Jesu, Salvator mundi, qui in Trinitate perfecta vicis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, the true light, that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world: pour forth thy blessing ✠ upon these candles, and sanctify ✠ them by the light of thy grace; and grant in thy mercy, that as these candles, by their visible light, dispel the darkness of the night, so our hearts burning with invisible fire, and enlightened by the grace of the Holy Ghost, may be delivered from all blindness of sin: that the eye of our soul being purified, we may discern those things that are pleasing to thee, and beneficial to our souls: that after having finished the darksome passage of this life, we may come to never-fading joys, through thee, O Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, who, in perfect Trinity, livest and reignest God, world without end.
℟. Amen.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui per Moysen famulum tuum, purissimum olei liquorem ad luminaria ante conspectum tuum jugiter concinnanda præparari jussisti: bene✠dictionis tuæ gratiam super hos cereos benignus infunde, quatenus sic administrent lumen exterius ut, te donante, lumen Spiritus tui nostris non desit mentibus interius. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.
O Almighty and Eternal God, who, by thy servant Moses, commandedst the purest oil to be prepared for lamps, continually to burn in thy presence, mercifully pour forth the grace of thy blessing ✠ on these candles: that as they supply us with visible light, so, by thy assistance, the light of thy Spirit may never be wanting inwardly in our souls. Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end.
℟. Amen.

Domine Jesu Christe, qui hodierna die, in nostræ carnis substantia, inter homines apparens, a parentibus in Templo es præsentatus, quem Simeon venerabilis senex, lumine Spiritus tui irradiatus, agnovit, suscepit, et benedixit: præsta propitius, ut ejusdem Spiritus Sancti gratia illuminati, atque edocti, te veraciter, agnoscamus et fideliter diligamus. Qui cum Deo Patre, in unitate ejusdem Spiritus sancti, vivis et regnas, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, who appearing amongst men in the substance of our flesh, wast pleased this day to be presented in the temple by thy parents, and whom the venerable Simeon, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, publicly confessing, received in his arms, and blessed: mercifully grant that, being inspired and taught by the grace of the same Holy Spirit, we may sincerely acknowledge and faithfully love thee. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, livest and reignest God, world without end.
℟. Amen.

These five Prayers having been said, the Celebrant sprinkles the Candles with holy water (saying the Asperges in secret), and then incenses them; after which, he distributes them to both clergy and Laity (in receiving the Candle, the Faithful should kiss first the Candle itself, and then the Priest’s hand). During the distribution, the Church—filled with emotion at the sight of these sacred symbols, which remind her of Jesus—shares in the joyous transports of the aged Simeon, who, while holding the Child in his arms, confessed him to be the Light of the Gentiles. She chants his sweet Canticle, separating each verse by an Antiphon, which is formed out of the last words of Simeon.

Ant. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Ant. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Canticle of Simeon
(St. Luke, II)
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine: * secundum verbum tuum in pace.
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace.

Ant. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Ant. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Quia viderunt oculi mei: * Salutare tuum.
Because my eyes have seen thy Salvation.

Ant. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Ant. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Quod parasti: * ante faciem omnium populorum.
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.

Ant. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Ant. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Gloria Patri et Filio, * et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Ant. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Ant. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunt et semper, * et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Ant. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Ant. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

After the distribution of the Candles, the following Antiphon and verse of the 43rd Psalm are sung.

Exsurge, Domine, adjuva nos, et libera nos propter nomen tuum.
Arise, O Lord, help us, and, for thy name’s sake, deliver us.

Ps. Deus, auribus nostris audivimus: patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis. ℣. Gloria Patri. Exsurge.
Ps. We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared unto us. ℣. Glory. Arise.

If it be in the season of Septuagesima, there is also added by the Deacon, Flectamus genua (Let us kneel down); to which the Subdeacon replies, Levate (Arise).

Exaudi, quæsumus, Domine, plebem tuam: et quæ extrinsecus annua tribuis devotione venerari, interius asseaui gratiæ tuæ luce concede. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Let us Pray.
Give ear, we beseech thee, O Lord, to thy people; that what we outwardly perform by this yearly devotion, we may inwardly obtain the effects of, by the light of thy grace. Through, &c.

Filled with holy joy, radiant with the mystic light, excited, like the venerable Simeon, by the impulse of the Holy Spirit—the Church goes forth to meet her Emmanuel. It is this meeting which the Greek Church calls the Hypapante (or Hypante), under which name she also designates today’s Feast. The Church would imitate that wondrous Procession which was formed in the Temple of Jerusalem on the day of Mary’s Purification. Let us listen to St. Bernard.

“On this day, the Virgin Mother brings the Lord of the Temple into the Temple of the Lord; Joseph presents to the Lord a Son, who is not his own, but the Beloved Son of that Lord himself, and in whom he is well pleased; Simeon, the just man, confesses Him for whom he had been so long waiting; Anna, too, the widow, confesses him. The Procession of this solemnity was first made by these four, which, afterwards, was to be made, to the joy of the whole earth, in every place and by every nation. Let us not be surprised at its then being so little for He that carried was Little! Besides, all who were in it were just, and Saints, and perfect—there was not a single sinner.”

And yet, let us join the holy procession. Let us go to meet Jesus, the Spouse of our souls, as did the Wise Virgins, carrying in our hands lamps burning with the flame of charity. Let us remember the command given us by our Lord: Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands: and you yourselves like to men who wait for their Lord. Guided by faith and enlightened by charity, we shall meet and know him, and he will give himself to us.

The holy Church opens her chants of this Procession with the following Antiphon, which is found, word for word, in the Greek Liturgy of this same Feast.

Ant. Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion, et suscipe Regem Christum: amplectere Mariam, quæ est cœlestis porta; ipsa enim portat Regem gloriæ novi luminis; subsistit Virgo, adducens, manifub Filium ante luciferum genitum; quam accipiens Simeon in ulnas suas, prædicavit populis Dominum eum esse vitæ et mortis et Salvatorem mundi.
Ant. Adorn thy bridechamber, O Sion, and receive Christ, thy King. Salute Mary, the gate of heaven; for she beareth the King of glory, who is the new Light. The Virgin stands, bringing in her hands her Son, the Begotten before the day-star; whom Simeon receiving into his arms, declared him to the people as the Lord of life and death, and the Savior of the world.

Then is added the following Anthem, taken from the Gospel, and in which is related the mysterious meeting between Jesus and Simeon.

Ant. Responsum accepit Simeon a Spiritu Sancto, non visurum se mortem, nisi videret Christum Domini; et cum inducerent Puerum in Templum, accepit eum in ulnas suas, et benedixit Deum, et dixit: Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, in pace.
Ant. Simeon had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord; and when his parents brought the Child into the Temple, he took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now, thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, in peace.

℣. Cum inducerent puerum Jesum parentes ejus ut facerent secundum consuetudinem Legis pro eo, ipse accepit eum in ulnas suas.
℣. When his parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him into his arms.

On re-entering the Church, the Choir sings the following Responsory:

℟. Obtulerunt pro eo Domino par turturum, aut duos pullos columbarum: * Sicut scriptum est in Lege Domini.
℟. They offered for him, to the Lord, a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons: * As it is written in the Law of the Lord.

℣. Postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis Mariæ, secundum legem Moysi, tulerunt Jesum in Jerusalem, ut sisterent eum Domino. * Sicut scriptum est in Lege Domini. Gloria Patri. * Sicut scriptum est.
℣. After the days of Mary’s purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Jesus to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. * As it is written in the law of the Lord. Glory. * As it is written.

After the Procession, the Celebrant and his Ministers put off their purple vestments, and vest in white for the Mass of the Purification.
But if it be any of the three Sundays, Septuagesima, Sexagesima, or Quinquagesima, the Mass of the Feast is deferred till the morrow, as we have already explained.

In the Introit, the Church sings the glory of Jerusalem’s Temple that was this day visited by the Emmanuel. Great, indeed, today, is the Lord in the City of David, great is he on his mount of Sion. Simeon, the representative of the whole human race, receives into his arms Him that is the Mercy sent us by God.

Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio Templi tui: secundum Nomen tuum, Deus, ita et laus tua in fines terræ: justitia plena est dextera tua.
We have received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple: according to thy name, O God, so also is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of justice.

Ps. Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis, in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri. Suscepimus.
Ps. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised: in the City of our God, in his holy Mountain. ℣. Glory, &c. We have.

In the Collect, the Church prays that her children may be presented, as Jesus was, to the Eternal Father; but in order that they may meet with a favorable reception, she asks him to grace them with purity of heart.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus Majestatem tuam supplices exoramus ut, sicut unigenitus Filius tuus, hodierna die, cum nostræ carnis substantia in Templo est præsentatus, ita nos facias purificatis tibi mentibus præsentari. Per eumdem.
O Almighty and Eternal God, we humbly beseech thy divine Majesty, that as thy Only Begotten Son, in the substance of our flesh, was this day presented in the temple, so our souls being perfectly cleansed, may become a pure oblation, and presented to thee. Through the same, &c.

Lesson from the Prophet Malachy. Ch. iii.

Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller’ s herb: And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years, saith the Lord Almighty.

Quote:All the Mysteries of the Man-God have this for their object—the purifying of our hearts. As today’s Epistle explains, He sends his Angel (that is, his Precursor) before his face, that he may prepare his way; and we have heard this holy Prophet crying out to us, in his wilderness: Be humbled, O ye hills! and ye valleys, be ye filled up!—At length, he that is the Angel, the Sent, by excellence, comes in person to make a Testament, a Covenant, with us. He comes to his Temple, and this Temple is our heart. But he is like a refining fire that takes away the dross of metals. He wishes to renew us by purifying us; that thus we may be worthy to be offered to him, and with him, by a perfect sacrifice. We must, therefore, take care and not be satisfied with admiring these sublime Mysteries. We must hold this as a principle of our spiritual life—that the Mysteries brought before us, feast after feast, are intended to work in us the destruction of the old, and the creation of the new, man. We have been spending Christmas; we ought to have been born together with Jesus; this new Birth is now at its fortieth day. Today, we must be offered by Mary (who is also our Mother) to the Divine Majesty, as Jesus was. The moment is come for our offering, for it is the hour of the Great Sacrifice—let us redouble the fervor of our preparation.

In the Gradual, the Church again celebrates that sweet Mercy, who has appeared in the Temple of Jerusalem, and is about to show himself to us in this more perfect manifestation of the Holy Sacrifice.

Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio Templi tui: secundum nomen tuum, Deus, ita et laus tua in fines terræ.
We have received thy Mercy, O God, in the midst of thy Temple: according to thy name, O God, so also is thy praise unto the ends of the earth.

℣. Sicut audivimus, ita et vidimus in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus.
℣. As we have heard, so have we seen in the City of our God, on his holy mountain.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Senex Puerum porta bat: Puer autem senem regebat. Alleluia.
℣. The old man carried the Child: but the Child guided the old man. Alleluia.

If the season of Septuagesima be already begun, the Church, instead of the Alleluia-verse, sings the following Tract, which is composed of the words of the venerable Simeon.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbun tuum in pace.
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace.

℣. Quia viderunt oculi mei Salutare tuum.
℣. Because my eyes have seen thy Salvation.

℣. Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum.
℣. Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.

℣. Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
℣. A Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke. Ch. ii.

At that time: After the days of purification of Mary, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons: And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Quote:The Holy Spirit has led us to the Temple, as he did Simeon. There, we see the Virgin Mother offering at the Altar her Son, who is the Son of God. We are filled with admiration at this fidelity of the Child and his Mother to the Law; and we feel in our hearts a desire to be also presented to our Creator, who will accept our homage, as he accepted that offered him by his Divine Son. Let us at once put ourselves in those same holy dispositions which filled the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The salvation of the world has this day gained ground; let the work of our individual sanctification also advance. From this Feast forward, the Mystery of the Infant-God will no longer be put before us by the Church as the special object of our devotion; the sweet Season of Christmas will, in a few hours, have left us, and we shall have to follow our Jesus in his combats against our enemies. Let us keep close to our dear King. Let us ever keep Simeon’s spirit, and follow our Redeemer, walking in His footsteps, who is our Light. Let us love this Light, and merit, by our fidelity in using it, that it unceasingly shine upon us.

During the Offertory, the Church speaks the praises of the grace put, by our Lord, on Mary’s lips. She celebrates the favors poured out on Her who was called by the Archangel Blessed among women.

Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis; propterea benedixit te Deus in æternum, et in sæculum sæculi.
Grace is spread on thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee for ever, and for ever.

Exaudi, Domine, preces nostras: et ut digna sint munera, quæ oculis tuæ Majestatis offerimus, subsidium nobis tuæ pietatis impende. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear our prayers, O Lord, and grant us the assistance of thy mercy, that what we offer to thy divine Majesty may be worthy to be accepted. Through, &c.

The Preface is that of Christmas.

After having distributed the Bread of Life—the Fruit of Bethlehem—which has been offered on our Altar, and has redeemed us from all our iniquities, the holy Church again reminds her children of the sentiments which filled Simeon’s soul. But in the Mystery of love, we not only, like Simeon, receive into our arms Him who is the Consolation of Israel; he enters into our very breast and soul, and there he takes up his abode.

Responsum accepit Simeon a Spiritu Sancto, non visurum se mortem, nisi videret Christum Domini.
Simeon received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death till he beheld the Christ of the Lord.

Let us, in the Postcommunion, unite with the Church in praying that the heavenly remedy of our regeneration may not only produce in our souls a passing grace, but may, by our fidelity, fructify in us to life eternal.

Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster, ut sacrosancta mysteria, quæ pro reparationis nostræ munimine contulisti, intercedente beata Maria semper Virgine, et præsens nobis remedium esse facias et futurum. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Lord our God, that the sacred mysteries we have received to preserve our new life may, by the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, become a remedy to us both now and for the future. Through, &c.

[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi0.wp.com%2Fwww.czechch...f=1&nofb=1]

The Ancient Liturgies contain but few Hymns on the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.
One of these is the composition of St. Paulinus, the Patriarch of Aquileia, and is not without its merits.

As soon as the Maiden’s forty days were accomplished, according to the Law of the Lord, the Virgin Mary took the Holy Child Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father, into the Temple, carrying him in her saintly arms.

The Blessed Mother carried upon her most chaste bosom her God, who was hid under the veil of our flesh. Sweetly and fondly does she kiss the lips of Him that was true God and Man, and, at whose bidding, all things were made.

The Parents took two tender little milk-white doves, which they offered for their Jesus, and which, by the prescription of the Law, were consumed in a holocaust.

There lived in the City a Priest of God, who was humble, and meek exceedingly: he was just, and, though old, was without a fault: his name was Simeon, the happy, blessed, heavenly-minded Simeon, who, being full of the Holy Ghost, was urged by a divine impulse to enter the holy Temple.

He had, long ago, received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not be loosed, by death, from the bonds of his flesh, until he had seen, in this present life, the Christ of the Lord, whom the Father was to send from his high throne.

Receiving, therefore, the Child into his hands, he gave thanks to the heavenly Father; and, as he held the Babe in his arms, he blessed his Lord. Then, also, with his heart teeming with love, he thus sweetly cried aloud:

“Dismiss thy servant, Lord! dismiss me, I beseech thee, in Peace, for I have now seen, with mine eyes, the Saviour thou hast, in wondrous mercy, prepared before the face of every people.

“He is the Light that is to shine upon the Gentiles, and bring glory to the people of Israel. He is set for the fall and the salvation of the race of Jacob, as shall be seen on the day when the secrets of hearts shall be revealed.

“Behold, O Holy Mother! thy own soul shall be pierced with a sword! Mary heard these high mysterious words, pondering them joyfully in her heart, for she ever took the words of heaven with ready faith.

Glory be to the Father of our Lord Jesus! And to thee, the Only Begotten Son of the Father, to thee, O God! be power and heavenly virtue! And to the Holy Paraclete, be infinite praise, honour, and empire, for endless ages. Amen.

Sequences for the Purification are as rare as Hymns, in the ancient Liturgies. 
The one we give here, is taken from the old Sequence-Book of the Monastery of St. Gall, and was composed by Blessed Notker.

This people, with one accord, venerates thee, Mary! and honours thee with devout heart.

Thou art the Daughter of the noble Abraham, and of the kingly race of David.

O Virgin of virgins! thou wast pure above all creatures, most spotless in thy life, and of surpassing beauty.

Be glad, Mother and Virgin most glorious! Thou didst believe what Gabriel the Archangel said unto thee — thou didst bring forth a Son, and yet wast a Virgin as before.

In the most precious Blood of this thy Son, the lost human race was cleansed, as God had promised unto Abraham.

The dry Rod of Aaron, that yielded a lovely flower, was a figure of thee, Mary! who wast the Virgin-Mother of the Flower Divine.

Thou wast the ever-closed Gate, O Mary, of which Ezekiel speaks, and which was opened to none save only God.

But, on this day, wishing to give us an example worthy of the Mother of every virtue, thou didst subject thyself to the law which was made not but for the mothers of men.

O spotless Mother! thou didst bring with thee to the Temple, (as though he could be cleansed,) Him, who gave thee the splendour of thy virginity — thou didst bring with thee the God made Man.

Be glad, O Holy Mary! whom He, that searcheth the hearts and reins, found to be the only worthy dwelling of his majesty.

Rejoice, Mary! on whom the Little One, whose look gives joy and being to the world, looked and smiled.

We, therefore, who celebrate the Feast of Jesus, (become an Infant for our sakes,) and of his sweet Mother Mary,

Since we cannot, because we are weak, follow the wondrous humility of a God, let us take Mary as our model.

Praise to the Father of glory, who hath united us all into one, by revealing his Son to both the Gentiles and his people of Israel.

Praise to the Son, who hath given us fellowship with the citizens of heaven, by reconciling us, by his Blood, to the Father.

Praise, too, be forever to the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The admirable Sequence we subjoin to this, is one of the finest written by Adam of Saint- Victor.
We are indebted for it to Gautier, who was the first to publish it, in his beautiful edition of the great Lyric’s poetical writings.
But, besides the interest it has as being so fresh a treasure, our readers will find in it so much beauty,
that we should not be surprised at their giving it the first place among all the Hymns to our Lady, written in the Middle-Ages.

Let us adorn the temple of our souls, and, with new hearts, bring back again that old man’s joy, whose long-cherished wish is granted, as his arms press Jesus to his breast.

This Child is the Standard of the people, filling the Temple with light, our choirs with praise, and our hearts with jubilee. This day, is he presented in the Temple, and will, another day, when grown to manhood, be offered on the Cross, the offering for sin.

On one side Jesus, on the other Mary; here the sweet Infant, and there the sweet Mother; — oh! what a glad sight! — But let us devoutly carry within us that work of Light, which our lighted tapers symbolize.

The Father’s Word is the light — his virginal flesh is the wax — our lighted taper is Christ himself, who enlightens our hearts with that wisdom, which rescues the sinner from the error of his way, and sets him on virtue’s path.

He that holds Jesus by love, carries, as our Feast would have him do, the Candle blessed with light. So did Simeon love the Father’s Word, and fondly carry in his arms the Mother’s Babe.

Be glad, O Mother of thy God! simple, pure, unwrinkled, spotless Mother! O Maiden! chosen by the God of thy love, and loved by the God of thy choice.

All beauty is cloudy, deformed, and displeasing, to him that has seen thine. All sweetness seems bitter, or false, or insipid, to the soul that has tasted of thine.

All fragrance, put near thine, grows faint or foul; and love is powerless o’er a heart that feeds on thine.

Beautiful Star of the sea! Thou beautiful honour of all mothers! true Mother of Truth! path of holy living! O remedy of the world’s ills! Source of the fount of that Wine of Life, for which all men should thirst, and whose strength-giving chalice is sweet to the healthy and the sick, and restores the drooping heart!

O fount sealed up in holiness! pour out on us thy streams! — Fount of inner gardens! water, with thy rivulet’s wave our parched and stony hearts!

Overflowing Fount! flow out on us, and wash our hearts’ defilements. O Fount sublime, limpid above our thought! cleanse thy servants’ hearts from an unclean world. Amen.

Now let us give ear to the sweet hymn of the Greek Church. She thus celebrates the Purification in her Mensea.

This day, Simeon receives into his arms the Lord of glory, whom, heretofore, Moses saw under a cloud, on Mount Sina, when he received the tables of the Law. This is he that speaks in the Prophets, and is the Maker of the Law. This is he whom David foretells: he is the terrible God: his mercy is great and exceeding rich.

O thou the Treasure of all ages, and the Life of all creatures! thou, for my sake, becamest an Infant; thou who, heretofore, didst engrave the Law on the Tables, on Sina, wast made under the Law, so to give all men freedom from the ancient servitude of the Law. Glory, O Jesus! be to thy mercy. Glory be to thy kingdom! Glory be to thy dispensation, thou the only lover of mankind!

Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, carries in her arms Him that is seated on the chariot of Cherubim, and is hymned in the songs of Seraphim: Him that was made incarnate from her: — Him, the Lawgiver, who now is observing the ordinance of the Law. She gave him into the arms of the aged Priest, who, as he thus held the Life, prayed to be loosed from life, saying: “Now, O Lord, dismiss me, that I may go tell Adam how I have seen the immutable God, who is from all eternity, made a Little Child, and the Saviour of the world.”

The old man prostates, and following, in spirit, the steps of the Virgin-Mother of God, he says: “Thou art carrying Fire, O pure one! Thy trembling arms are bearing the Infant, who is the God of never-setting light, and the Lord of peace.”

“Isaias was cleansed when he took from the Seraph the ” burning coal,’ said the old man to the Mother of God: “but thou inflamest me with the instrument of thy hands, giving me Him thou holdest — the Lord of light, that setteth not, and of peace.”

O ye that are of good-will! let us all run to the Mother of God, to see her Child, whom she now gives to Simeon; which the heavenly Spirits seeing, they say in deepest wonder: “This day, we behold wonderful, incredible, in comprehensible, things. He, that heretofore made Adam, is carried as a Babe! He, whom no space may hold, is held in an old man’s arms! He, that dwells in the bosom of the Father, wills to have, by flesh, the limits Divinity could not have! Who but God, could bear towards man such love as this?”

We adore and thank thee, O Emmanuel ! on this happy day, which saw thee enter into the Temple of thy Majesty, carried in the arms of thy incomparable Mother. Thou comest into the Temple, that thou mayest offer thyself for our sakes. Thou deignest to be redeemed by the payment of a ransom, for, one day, thou hast to pay an infinite ransom for us. Thou comest, now, to offer a ceremonial sacrifice, because thou art soon to abolish every sacrifice by the one that alone is perfect. Thou enterest, to-day, into that Jerusalem, which is to be the place of thy passion and death. Our salvation urges thee on. Thou wast born for us, but thou art not satisfied; and every gift of this thy fortieth day must needs bespeak the future proofs thou hast yet to give us, of the love thou bearest us.

O thou, the Consolation of Israel ! on whom the Angels love to look! thou enterest into the Temple, and they, who were living in expectation of their Redeemer, redouble their hope. Oh! that we had something of that love, which burned in Simeon’s heart, as he held thee in his arms! All he lived for, was to see thee, O Divine Infant ! and having seen thee, he longs to die. One brief moment’s sight of thee makes him sleep in peace! What must it be to possess thee eternally, when a glance could satisfy the longings of a whole life!

But, O Saviour of our souls! if Simeon was so satiated with this seeing thee presenting thyself for mankind in the Temple — how ought we to love thee, we who have seen the final consummation of thy Sacrifice? The day will come, when, as thy devout servant Bernard expresses it, thou wilt be offered, not in the Temple and on Simeon’s arms, but outside the City-gates and on the arms of the Cross. On that day, man will not offer up the blood of a victim for thee, but thyself wilt offer up thine own Blood for man. Now, it is the “morning; then, it will be the evening, sacrifice. Now, thou art in the age of Infancy; then, thou wilt have attained the fullness of the age of Man; and having loved us from the beginning, thou wilt love us even unto the end.

What return shall we make to thee, O Divine Infant! for thou bearest within thy heart, during this thy first offering, the same infinite love of us wherewith thou wilt consummate thy last? Can we do less than offer ourselves to thee, from this very day, and be wholly thine? Thou givest thyself to us in the Adorable Sacrament, with more perfection than thou didst give thyself to Simeon; and we receive thee not in our arms, but in our very breast. Dismiss us, dear Jesus! break our chains. Give us thy Peace, and may we, like Simeon, enter now on a new life. In order to imitate thy virtues and be united with thee, we have endeavored, during this holy Season, to gain that humility and simplicity which thou wishest to see within us. Assist us to persevere in the spiritual life, that, like thee, we may grow in age and wisdom, before both God and men.

And thou, O Mary! purest of Virgins, and Mother blessed above all mothers!—O Daughter of the Prince! how beautiful are thy steps on this day of thy Purification, when thou enterest the Temple with our Jesus in thy arms! Who could tell the joy and the humility on thy maternal heart, in this offering thou makest to the Eternal Father of his and thy Son? Looking around on the mothers who have come for their own purification on this same day, thou rejoicest at the thought that the babes they are now presenting in the Temple will one day see and now thy Jesus, their Savior. What a privilege, that these Children should be presented to the Lord together with thine! What honor for these mothers, that they should be purified in thy holy company! If the Temple is glad at seeing enter within its walls the God, in whose honor it has been built—part of its joy is to see him throned there in thy arms, who art the holiest of creatures, the one child of Eve that has never known sin, the Virgin Mother of this God.

But, whilst humbly keeping within thyself the secrets of the Eternal Father, and mingled in the throng of these Hebrew mothers — the holy Simeon advances towards thee, Mary! Knowing that the Holy Ghost has revealed the mystery to him, thou affectionately placest in his hands the God of heaven and earth, who has come to be the Consolation of Israel. The holy Anna, too, approaches thee, and thou lovingly receivest her. Perhaps, in thy younger years, thou hadst received from her, in this very Temple, the affection and care of a second mother. Thy heart thrills with delight, at hearing these two venerable Saints extolling God’s faithfulness to his promises, and the glory of thy Child, and the splendour of the Light which is now to be shed forth on all nations. The happiness of thus hearing the praises of the God, who is thy Child, fills thee with joy and thankfulness — but, oh! what a sword of grief pierces thy heart, dear Mother, at the words of Simeon as he gives thee back thy Babe! Henceforth, thou must weep as often as thou lookest on Him! He is to be a sign of contradiction (Luke 2:34) and the wounds men are to give him are to wound thy soul! The blood of victims like these, that are now being offered in the Temple, shall cease to flow, and be changed for the Blood of thy Jesus!

O Mother of Sorrows ! we were the cause of all this. It was our sins, that changed thy joy into mourning. And yet, thou lovest us, because thy Jesus loves us! Love us now and for ever. Intercede for us with thy Son. Pray, that we may never lose the
graces granted us during these forty happy days.

These graces drew us to the Crib of thy Child, and thy affection for us encouraged to stay. We are resolved to maintain our position near this Jesus, following him through all the Mysteries which are now to succeed this of his Infancy. We are resolved to be faithful disciples of this dear Master, and follow him, as thou didst, even to the foot of that Cross,
which was revealed to thee on this day.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcatholictruth.net%2FCTN...f=1&nofb=1]

What is this festival?

IT is the festival on which the Church venerates the humility and obedience of Mary who, though not subject to the law of Moses, which required purification and presentation in the temple, yet subjected herself to it. From this comes the name Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. It is also called Candlemas, because before Mass on this day the candles used in divine service are blessed and carried in procession.

Why are the candles blessed on this day and carried in procession?

In remembrance of the presentation of Jesus to His Heavenly Father on this day, when the aged Simeon called Him: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of the people of Israel, (Luke II. 32.) and to remind us that, like the five wise virgins, we should go to meet Christ with the light of faith and good works.

With what intention are candles blessed?

With the intention of obtaining from God by their pious use and the prayers of those who devoutly carry them, health of body and soul; that our hearts, through the doctrine of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Ghost, may be interiorly enlightened; and that the fire of the love of God may be kindled in our hearts, purify them from all remains of sin, and make us partakers in the joyous light of heaven, which will never be extinguished.

The Introit of the Mass is: We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple: according to Thy name, O God, so also is Thy praise, unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of justice. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised: in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. (Ps. XLVII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Almighty, everliving God, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty, that as Thine only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh; so we also may, with purified hearts, be presented unto Thee. Thro' etc.

EPISTLE (Malach. III. 1-4.) Thus Saith The Lord God: Behold, I send my Angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the Angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold, he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts, and who shall be able to think of the day of his coming, and who shall stand to see him? For he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb: and he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold and as silver: and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as the days of old, and the ancient years: saith the Lord Almighty.

Quote:EXPLANATION The angel or messenger who shall prepare the way for the Lord, is John the Baptist, (Matt. XI. 10.) and the long desired Ruler and Messiah is Christ, who on this day comes into his temple. He is called the Angel of the testament, because He has arranged between God and man a new and far more excellent covenant than God had made with the Jews; inasmuch as He has given to the Christians not merely temporal but eternal good. This Angel of the testament, Christ, came the first time in all the humility of a little child into the temple, but His second coming at the end of the world will be terrible. The prophet likens Him to a fire which purifies the gold, and to that herb with which cloth is whitened in the fuller's machine; under which figures he alludes to the severity of judgment, with which Christ will judge the just and the unjust. Pure as refined gold, and as the white linen (corporal) on which the Body of Christ is laid in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, must be the heart of those who receive Christ in the blessed Sacrament, or seek worthily to offer the holy Sacrifice with the priest.

GOSPEL (Luke II. 22-32.) At that time, After the days of Mary's purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Jesus to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law: he also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word, in peace: Because my eyes have seen thy salvation: which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Why was Jesus brought into the temple of Jerusalem?

That He might be offered to God, who had commanded the Jews to offer their first-born sons to Him in grateful commemoration of the destroying angel having spared their first-born at the departure from Egypt, when all the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain. (Exodus XII. 12.) These children had to be redeemed afterwards by certain gifts. (Exodus XIII. 13.)

How soon after birth was this offering to be made?

On the fortieth day; for according to the law the mother's impurity lasted for this length of time after the birth of a boy, after which she went to the temple, and in order to be declared purified, made her offering of purification. (Lev. XII.)

Was Mary subject to this law of purification?

No, for she had not, like other mothers, conceived in sin, and, therefore, did not need purification; but she placed herself with her divine Child among sinners and fulfilled the law by which these were bound. "Nothing", says St. Bernard, "was impure in her conception, nothing impure in her birth; there was nothing to be cleansed, for the Child itself was the origin of all purity, and came into the world to purify it from sin. Truly, O happy Virgin, thou wast not in need of purification, but thou wouldst pass as a woman among women, as thy Son also passed for a child among children."

Why did Mary comply with the law of purification?

She did this to give us an example of obedience and true humility, for she interiorly thought little of herself and wished externally to be so regarded; to teach us to thank God for the favors He has shown to our ancestors, for the law of the Jews was given to encourage them to gratitude for the preservation of the first-born of their ancestors from the hands of the destroying angel; (Exodus XII. 12.) and in order not to scandalize, by being regardless of this law, those who did not know that she was not required to observe it.

Learn, O Christian, from Mary's example to be truly humble and obedient, to be grateful to God for the benefits which your ancestors and parents have received, and to be on your guard never to give scandal, by failing to observe the commandments of God and His Church.

Why did not Mary offer a lamb as did the rich, (Lev. XII. 6). but merely, like the poor, a pair of doves?

Because she was poor, and was not ashamed to appear as such before the world. Mary loved humility and the poverty connected with it. Be not ashamed, therefore, if thou art poor, love poverty the more; but if rich, be poor in spirit, and love the poor and distressed.

How did it come to pass that Simeon met the Saviour in the temple?

Because he was a pious and faithful servant of God, it had been promised him that he should not die, until he had seen the Saviour. When Jesus was brought into the temple, Simeon was inspired by God to go there also, and when he found Jesus there, he by divine inspiration knew Him to be the Messiah, and gave testimony of Him.

See how God rewards those who sincerely love and serve Him, giving Himself to them to be known always more and more!

Why was Simeon ready to die when he had held Jesus in his arms?

Because his wish was fulfilled; for since he had not only seen with his own eyes, but had held in his arms the Desired of all nations, for whom the patriarchs had so vainly longed, what more could he wish than to leave this miserable world, and commend his spirit into the hands of his Saviour?

Why did Simeon call Jesus a light for the revelation of the Gentiles?

Because Jesus had come into the world as the true light, (John I. 9) which was to free the Gentiles from the darkness of superstition and idolatry, and from the blindness and slavery of Satan, as well as to conduct the Jews out of the bondage of the Mosaic Law into the liberty of the children of God. (Gal. IV. 31.)

PRAYER Heavenly Father! look down from Thy throne of mercy upon the face of Thy Anointed in whom Thou art well pleased. Behold, He is this day offered to Thee in the temple for the sins of His brethren. Let this offering please Thee, and move Thee to have compassion on us sinners. In consideration of His humility and obedience, forgive us our pride and disobedience, and grant us, that purified by His blood, we may one day, having like Simeon departed this life in peace, behold Thee as the eternal Light which shall never be extinguished in the temple of Thy glory, be presented to Thee by Mary, our beloved Mother, and love and praise Thee forever. Amen.

[Image: ?u=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2F0bxrzRx.gif&f=1&nofb=1]


In the Jewish law (Lev. XII.) women for forty days after the birth of a boy, and for eighty after that of a girl, were regarded as unclean and kept out of the temple, and required, at the end of that time, to bring a lamb as a holocaust, and a dove as a propitiatory sacrifice to the temple, and be pronounced pure by the prayer of the priest. This law does not, it is true, apply to Christian women, because the Church has abolished the Jewish ceremonies: but the Church, nevertheless, permits them to remain absent from church for six weeks, or so long as circumstances may require, after the birth of a child, in order to take care of their health. This should be remembered by husbands, who should see that their wives have the necessary quiet and attendance which nature requires for recovery after the birth of a child. The Church desires that at the end of this time the mother, following Mary's example, should resort to the church to obtain the blessing of the priest, thank God for her delivery, offer the child to God, praying with the priest for the grace to bring up her offspring in sanctity and piety. This comprises the Churching of women, which is a very old and praiseworthy custom and should not be neglected. This practice was not instituted to prevent their being harmed by the devil, by malicious persons, or by ghosts, and it would be not only a foolish fear, but a superstition to be condemned, if one were to suppose that a woman were liable to harm if she should go abroad before she were churched. The delicate health of women and of children is generally owing to their having injured themselves by want of proper care and attention.

PRAYER Almighty and beneficent God! who didst impose upon our mother Eve, in punishment for her sin, that she should give birth to her children in pain: I offer to Thee all the pains which I have thus suffered in atonement for my sins, and thank Thee, that I have safely brought a child into the-" world, whom I now offer to Thee, according to the example of the Mother of Thine only-begotten Son, for Thy holy service, whom I shall zealously endeavor to educate for Thy honor. Give me but this grace through the intercession and merits of this most blessed Mother. Bless me and my child, and grant, that we may here live in accordance with Thy divine will, and receive eternal salvation. Through Christ, our Lord, &c. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
O Gloriosa Virginum


O gloriosa virginum,
Sublimis inter sidera,
Qui te creavit, parvulum,
Lactente nutris ubere.

Quod Heva tristis abstulit,
Tu reddis almo germine:
Intrent ut astra flebiles,
Caeli recludis cardines.

Tu Regis alti janua
Et aula lucis fulgida:
Vitam datam per Virginem,
Gentes redemptae, plaudite.

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
On the Purification of Mary
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse2.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3...%3DApi&f=1]

In the Old Law, there were Two (2) Precepts, concerning the Birth-of First-born Sons:

One was, that the Mother should Remain as-Unclean, Retired-in her House for Forty (40) Days; after which she was to-go to-Purify herself in the Temple.

The Other was, that the Parents-of the First-born Son, should take him to the Temple, and there 'Offer' him to-God.

On this Day, the most Blessed Virgin Obeyed both these Precepts. Although Mary was not Bound-by the Law-of-Purification, since she was always a Virgin, and always Pure; yet her Humility and Obedience, made her Wish to-go, like other-Mothers, to-Purify herself. She, at the same-Time, Obeyed the Second (2nd) Precept, to Present and Offer her Son, to the Eternal Father. "And after the Days of her Purification, according-to the Law-of-Moses, were Accomplished, they carried Him to-Jerusalem, to-Present Him to the Lord" (Luke 2:22). But, the Blessed Virgin did not Offer Him, as other Mothers, Offered their Sons. Others Offered them to-God; but they Knew-that this Oblation, was simply a Legal Ceremony, and that by 'Redeeming' them, they made them their own, without Fear-of having again to-Offer them to-Death. Mary really Offered her Son to-Death, and knew for-certain, that the Sacrifice of the Life-of-Jesus, which she then made, was one day to be actually 'Consummated'-on the Altar-of the Cross; so that Mary, by-Offering the Life-of her Son, came, in Consequence-of the Love she 'Bore' this Son, really to-Sacrifice her own Entire Self to-God. Leaving, then, aside all other Considerations, into-which we might enter, on the many Mysteries-of this Festival, we will only consider the Greatness-of the Sacrifice which Mary made of herself to-God, in Offering Him on this Day, the Life-of her Son. And this will be the Whole Subject-of the following Discourse.

The Eternal Father had already Determined-to Save Man, who was Lost-by-Sin, and to-Deliver him from Eternal (∞) Death. But, because He Willed, at the same-Time, that His Divine Justice should not be Defrauded-of a 'Worthy' and 'Due' Satisfaction, He Spared-not the Life-of His Son, already 'Become' Man to-Redeem Man, but Willed that He should Pay- with the utmost-Rigor, the Penalty which Men had Deserved. "He that Spared not even His Own Son, but Delivered Him up, for us all" (Romans 8:32). He sent Him, therefore, on-Earth to-'Become' Man. He 'Destined' Him a mother, and Willed that this mother should be the Blessed Virgin Mary. But, as He Willed not that His Divine Word should become her Son before she by an Express Consent, had 'Accepted' Him, so also He Willed not that Jesus should Sacrifice His Life for the Salvation-of Men, without the Concurrent Assent-of Mary; that, together with the Sacrifice-of the Life of the Son, the Mother's Heart might also be Sacrificed. Saint Thomas teaches that the Quality-of-Mother, gives her a Special Right-over her Children; hence, Jesus being-in Himself Innocent and Undeserving-of Punishment, it seemed Fitting-that He should not be Condemned-to the Cross as a Victim, for the Sins-of the World, without the Consent-of His Mother, by-which she should Spontaneously Offer Him to-Death.

But, although from the Moment she became the Mother-of-Jesus, Mary Consented-to His Death, yet God Willed that on this-Day, she should make a Solemn Sacrifice of herself, by Offering her Son to-Him in the Temple, Sacrificing His Precious Life, to Divine Justice. Hence Saint Epiphanius calls her "a Priest".

And now we begin to-see how-much this Sacrifice 'Cost' her, and what Heroic Virtue she had to-Practice, when she herself 'Subscribed' the Sentence, by-which her Beloved Jesus, was Condemned-to Death. Behold, Mary is actually on her Road-to Jerusalem, to Offer her Son; she Hastens her steps towards the Place-of Sacrifice, and she herself 'Bears' the Beloved Victim in her arms. She enters the Temple, approaches the Altar, and there, Beaming-with Modesty, Devotion, and Humility, 'Presents' her Son, to the Most High.

In the mean-time, the Holy Simeon, who had-'Received' a Promise-from God, that he should not Die without having First seen the 'Expected' Messiah, takes the Divine Child from the hands of the Blessed Virgin, and, Enlightened-by the Holy Ghost, 'Announces'-to her, how-much the Sacrifice which she then made-of her Son, would Cost her, and that with-Him, her own Blessed Soul would also be Sacrificed. Here, Saint-Thomas-of-Villanova 'Contemplates' the Holy Old Man, 'Becoming' Troubled and Silent, at the thought-of having to give Utterance-to a Prophecy, so Fatal-to this Poor Mother. The Saint then 'Considers' Mary, who 'Asks' him, "Why, O Simeon, art thou thus Troubled in the midst-of such Great Consolations"? "O Royal Virgin", he replies, "I would Desire not to-Announce thee such Bitter Tidings; but, since God thus Wills it, for thy Greater Merit, Listen-to what I have to-Say. This Child, which is now such a Source-of-Joy to thee — and, O God, with how much Reason! — this Child, I say, will One Day be a Source-of such Bitter Grief to-thee, that no-Creature in the World, has ever Experienced the Like; and this will-be when thou Seest Him Persecuted-by Men-of every-Class, and made a Butt upon-Earth, for their Scoffs and Outrages; they will even go so-far-as to put Him to-Death as a Malefactor, before Thine own Eyes. Thou so-Greatly Rejoicest-in this Infant; but, Behold, He is Placed-for a Sign, which shall be-Contradicted. Know that after His Death, there will be many Martyrs, who for the Love-of this Son-of thine, will be Tormented and Put-to Death; their Martyrdom, however, will be Endured-in their Bodies; but thine, O Divine Mother, will be Endured-in thy Heart. O, how many Thousands-of Men, will be Torn-to Pieces, and Put-to Death, for the Love-of this Child! and although they will all Suffer-much, in their Bodies, thou, O Virgin, wilt Suffer-much-more, in thy Heart".

Yes, in her Heart; for Compassion alone, for the Sufferings-of this Most Beloved Son, was the Sword-of-Sorrow, which was to-Pierce the Heart-of the Mother, as Saint Simeon exactly 'Foretold': "And thy own Soul, a Sword shall Pierce" (Luke 2:35). Already the most Blessed Virgin, as Saint Jerome says, was Enlightened-by the Sacred Scriptures, and Knew the Sufferings that the Redeemer was to-Endure, in His Life, and still-more, at the Time-of His Death.

She fully-Understood from the Prophets, that He was to be Betrayed-by One-of His Disciples: "For even the Man of My Peace, in whom I Trusted, who ate My Bread, hath greatly Supplanted Me" (Psalm 40:10), as David 'Foretold': that He was to be Abandoned by them: "Strike the Shepherd, and the Sheep shall be Scattered" (Zechariah 13:7).

She well-Knew the Contempt, the Spitting, the Blows, the Derisions, He was to Suffer from the People: "I have given My Body to the Strikers, and My Cheeks to them that Plucked them: I have not turned-away My Face, from them that Rebuked Me, and Spit-upon Me" (Isaiah 1:6). She Knew that He was to-become the Reproach-of Men, and the Outcast-of the most Degraded-of the People, so as to be Saturated-with Insults and Injuries: "But I am a Worm, and no-Man: the Reproach-of Men, and the Outcast-of the People" (Psalm 22:7). "He shall be filled-with Reproaches". She Knew-that at the End-of His Life, His most Sacred Flesh would be Torn and Mangled by-Scourges: "But He was Wounded-for our Iniquities; He was Bruised-for our Sins" (Isaiah 53:5) And this, to-such a Degree, that His Whole Body was to be Disfigured, and become like that of a Leper — all Wounds, and the Bones Appearing. "There is no Beauty in Him, nor Comeliness . . . and we have Thought Him, as it were, a Leper" (Isaiah 2:4). "They have Numbered all My Bones" (Psalm 22:18). She Knew that He was to be Pierced-by Nails: "They have dug My Hands and Feet" (Psalm 22:17). To be Ranked-with Malefactors: "And was Reputed, with the Wicked" (Isaiah 53:12). And that finally, Hanging-on a Cross, He was to Die-for the Salvation-of Men: "And they shall look-upon Me, Whom they have Pierced" (Zechariah 12:10).

Mary, I say, already Knew all these Torments which her Son was to-'Endure'; but, in the Words 'Addressed'-to her by Simeon, "And thy own Soul, a Sword shall Pierce", all the Minute Circumstances-of the Sufferings, 'Internal' and 'External', which were to-Torment her Jesus, in His Passion, were made-Known to-her, as Our Lord revealed-to Saint Teresa. She 'Consented'-to All, with a Constancy which filled even the Angels with-Astonishment; she Pronounced-the-Sentence, that her Son should Die, and Die-by so Ignominious and Painful a Death, saying, "Eternal Father, since Thou Willest that it should be so, not my Will, but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42). I 'Unite' my Will, to Thy most Holy Will, and I Sacrifice, this my Son, to-Thee. I am Satisfied-that He should Lose His Life, for Thy Glory, and the Salvation-of the World. At the same-Time, I Sacrifice my Heart to-Thee, that it may be Transpierced-with-Sorrow, and this, as-much-as Thou Pleasest: it Suffices me, my God, that Thou art Glorified and Satisfied-with my Offering: "Not my Will, but Thine be done". O Charity without-Measure! O Constancy without-Parallel! O Victory, which 'Deserves' the Eternal (∞) Admiration-of Heaven and Earth!

Hence it was, that Mary was-Silent during the Passion-of Jesus, when He was Unjustly Accused. She said nothing to-Pilate, who was somewhat Inclined-to set Him at- Liberty, Knowing, as he did, His Innocence; she only Appeared-in Public, to Assist-at the Great Sacrifice, which was to be Accomplished-on Calvary; she 'Accompanied' her Beloved Son, to the Place-of Execution; she was with-Him from the First (1st) Moment, when He was Nailed-on the Cross: "There Stood-by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother (John 19:25), until she saw Him Expire, and the Sacrifice was 'Consummated'. And all this she did, to-'Complete' the Offering, which she had made-of Him, to -God, in the Temple.

To Understand the Violence which Mary had-to Offer herself, in this Sacrifice, it would be Necessary-to Understand the Love that this Mother, Bore-to Jesus. Generally speaking, the Love-of Mothers, is so-Tender towards their Children, that, when these are at the Point-of Death, and there is Fear-of Losing them, it Causes them to-Forget all their Faults and Defects, and even the Injuries they may have Received-from them, and makes them Suffer an Inexpressible Grief. And yet the Love-of these Mothers, is a Love divided-amongst other-Children, or at least amongst other-Creatures. Mary had an only Son, and He was the Most Beautiful-of all the Sons-of-Adam — Most Amiable, for He had everything to-make Him so: He was Obedient, Virtuous, Innocent, Holy; Suffice-it to-say, He was God. Again, this Mother's Love was not divided-amongst other-Objects; she had 'Concentrated' all her Love, in this only Son; nor did she Fear to Exceed-in Loving Him; for this Son was God, Who Merits Infinite (∞) Love. This Son it was, Who was the Victim which she, of her own Free Will, had to Sacrifice-to-Death.

Let each one, then, consider how-much, it must-have Cost Mary, and what Strength-of-Mind she had to-Exercise, in this Act, by which she Sacrificed the Life-of so- Amiable a Son, to the Cross. Behold, therefore, the most-Fortunate of-Mothers, being the Mother-of a God; but who was at the same-Time, of all Mothers, the most-Worthy of-Compassion, being the most-Afflicted, inasmuch as she Saw her Son, Destined-to the Cross, from the Day on-which He was Given-to her. What Mother would Accept-of a Child, Knowing that she would Afterwards, Miserably Lose Him, by an Ignominious Death, and that moreover, she herself would be-Present and See Him thus Die. Mary Willingly 'Accepts' this Son, on so-Hard a Condition; and not only does she 'Accept' Him, but she herself, on this Day, Offers Him, with her own hand, to Death, Sacrificing Him to Divine Justice. Saint Bonaventure says that the Blessed Virgin would have 'Accepted' the Pains and Death-of her Son, far-more Willingly for herself; but, to-Obey God, she made the Great Offering of the Divine Life-of her Beloved Jesus; 'Conquering', but with an Excess-of Grief, the Tender Love, which she Bore Him. "Could it have been so, she would Willingly have Endured all the Torments of her Son; but it Pleased God, that His only-Begotten Son should be Offered, for the Salvation-of the Human Race". Hence it is that, in this Offering, Mary had to-Do herself more-Violence, and was more-Generous, than if she had Offered herself to-Suffer, all that her Son was to-Endure. Therefore, she 'Surpassed' all the Martyrs in-Generosity; for the Martyrs Offered their Own Lives, but the Blessed Virgin 'Offered' the Life-of her Son, Whom she Loved and Esteemed, Infinitely (∞)-more than her Own Life.

Nor did the Sufferings-of this Painful Offering, End-here; nay, even, they only-Began; for from that-Time forward, during the Whole Life-of her Son, Mary had Constantly-before her Eyes, the Death, and all the Torments which He was to-Endure. Hence, the more this Son showed Himself Beautiful, Gracious, and Amiable, the more did the Anguish-of her Heart, increase. Ah, most Sorrowful Mother, hadst thou Loved thy Son Less, or had He been less-Amiable, or had He Loved thee less, thy Sufferings, in-Offering Him to-Death, would certainly have been Diminished. But there Never-was, and Never-will be, a Mother who Loved her Son more-than thou didst Love Thine; for there Never-was, and Never-will be, a Son more- Amiable, or One who Loved his Mother, more-than thy Jesus, Loved thee. O God, had we 'Beheld' the Beauty, the Majesty of the Countenance-of that Divine Child, could we have ever had Courage to- Sacrifice His Life, for our Salvation? And thou, O Mary, who wast His Mother, and a Mother Loving Him, with so-Tender a Love, thou couldst Offer thy Innocent Son, for the Salvation-of Men, to a Death more-Painful and Cruel, than ever was Endured-by the Greatest Malefactor on-Earth!

Ah, how Sad a-Scene, from that Day forward, must Love have-Continually Placed-before the Eyes-of-Mary, — a Scene Representing all the Outrages and Mockeries which her Poor Son was to-Endure! See, Love already 'Represents' Him Agonized with-Sorrow, in the Garden, Mangled with-Scourges, Crowned with-Thorns in the Praetorium, and finally, Hanging-on the Ignominious Cross, on Calvary! "Behold, O Mother", says Love, "what an Amiable and Innocent Son thou Offerest to so many Torments, and to so Horrible a Death!" And to what Purpose, Save Him from the Hands-of-Herod, since it is only to-Reserve Him for a far-more Sorrowful End?

Thus, Mary not only Offered her Son to-Death in the Temple, but she 'Renewed' that Offering, every Moment-of her life; for she Revealed-to Saint Bridget "that the Sorrow announced-to her by the Holy Simeon, never left her Heart, until her Assumption into Heaven". Hence, Saint Anselm thus 'Addresses' her: "O compassionate Lady, I cannot Believe that thou couldst have Endured for a Moment, so Excruciating a Torment, without Expiring under it, had not God Himself, the Spirit of Life, Sustained thee". But Saint Bernard affirms, speaking-of the Great Sorrow which Mary experienced-on this day, that from that-Time-forward "she Died Living, enduring a Sorrow more Cruel than Death". In every Moment, she Lived Dying; for in every Moment, she was Assailed-by the Sorrow-of the Death of her Beloved Jesus, which was a Torment more-Cruel, than any Death.

Hence, the Divine Mother, on-account-of the Great Merit she 'Acquired'-by this Great Sacrifice, which she made-to God, for the Salvation-of the World, was Justly Called:

by Saint Augustine, "the Repairer of the Human Race";

by Saint Epiphanius, "the Redeemer of Captives";

by Saint Anselm, "the Repairer of a Lost World;

by Saint Germanus, "our Liberator from our Calamities";

by Saint Ambrose, "the Mother of all the Faithful";

by Saint Augustine, "the Mother of the Living"; and

by Saint-Andrew-of-Crete, "the Mother of Life".

For Arnold-of-Chartres says, "The Wills of Christ and of Mary, were then United, so that both Offered the same Holocaust; she thereby Producing with Him, the One (1) Effect, the Salvation-of the World". At the Death-of Jesus, Mary 'United' her Will, to that of her Son; so-much-so, that both Offered One-and-the-Same Sacrifice; and therefore the Holy Abbot says that both the Son and the Mother 'Effected' Human Redemption, and 'Obtained' Salvation-for Men — Jesus by Satisfying-for our Sins, Mary by-Obtaining the Application-of this Satisfaction-to us. Hence, Denis-the-Carthusian also 'Asserts' "that the Divine Mother can be called the Savior-of the World, since by the Pain she Endured-in 'Commiserating' her Son (Willingly Sacrificed-by her to Divine Justice) she Merited that Through her Prayers, the Merits-of the Passion of the Redeemer, should be Communicated-to Men".

Through her hands, Divine Graces, and the Means-to obtain Eternal Life, which are the Fruits-of the Merits of Jesus Christ, are given-to Men.

Mary, then, having by the Merit-of her Sorrows, and by Sacrificing her Son, become the Mother of all the Redeemed, it is Right to-Believe that through her hands Divine Graces, and the Means-to Obtain Eternal Life, which are the Fruits-of the Merits-of Jesus Christ, are Given-to Men. To this it is, that Saint Bernard alludes, when he says, that "when God was about to Redeem the Human Race, He Deposited the Whole Price, in Mary's Hands"; by which Words, the Saint gives us to-Understand that the Merits-of the Redeemer are Applied-to our Souls, by the Intercession-of the Blessed Virgin; for all Graces, which are the Fruits-of Jesus Christ, were Comprised-in that Price, of-which she had-Charge.

If the Sacrifice-of-Abraham, by-which he Offered his Son Isaac to-God, was so-Pleasing-to the Divine Majesty, that as a Reward, He Promised to-Multiply his Descendants, as the Stars-of-Heaven — "Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not Spared thy only-Begotten Son for My Sake, I will Bless thee, and I will Multiply thy Seed, as the Stars-of-Heaven", — we must certainly Believe that the more-Noble Sacrifice, which the Great Mother-of God, made-to Him of her Jesus, was far more-Agreeable to Him, and therefore that He has Granted-that, through her Prayers, the Number-of the Elect should be Multiplied, that is to say, Increased-by the Number-of her Fortunate Children; for she 'Considers' and 'Protects' all her Devout Clients, as such.

Saint Simeon, Received a Promise-from God, that he should not-Die, until he had seen the Messiah 'Born': "And he had Received an Answer-from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see Death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord". But this Grace, he only Received-through Mary, for it was in her arms that he 'Found' the Savior. Hence, he who Desires-to find Jesus, will not find Him otherwise, than by-Mary. Let us, then, go to this Divine Mother, if we wish to find Jesus, and let us go with Great Confidence. Mary told her Servant 'Prudenziana-Zagnoni', that every Year, on this Day-of her Purification, a Great Grace would be Bestowed-upon some Sinner. Who knows, but One-of us may be the Favored Sinner, of this Day? If our Sins are Great, the Power-of Mary is Greater. "The Son can deny no thing to such a Mother", says Saint Bernard. If Jesus is Irritated-against us, Mary Immediately Appeases Him. Plutarch relates-that Antipater wrote a Long Letter, to Alexander-the-Great, filled-with Accusations against his Mother, Olympia. Having read the Letter, Alexander said, "Antipater does not know that a Single Tear of my Mother, Suffices to-Cancel, Six Hundred Letters-of Accusation". We also may Imagine-that Jesus, thus 'Answers' the Accusations Presented-against us by the Devil, when Mary Prays for us: "Does not Lucifer know that a Prayer of My Mother, in Favor-of a Sinner, Suffices-to make Me Forget, all Accusations of Offences, Committed-against Me"?
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi0.wp.com%2Fcatholicsai...f=1&nofb=1]


The days being nearly fulfilled when the Blessed Virgin must, according to the Law, present and redeem her firstborn in the Temple, [143] all was prepared for the Holy Family's journey first to the Temple and then to their home in Nazareth. On the evening of Sunday, December 30 ^th, the shepherds had been given everything left behind by Anna's servants. The Cave of the Nativity, the side-cave, and Maraha's grave were all completely swept out and emptied. Joseph left them all quite clean. In the night of Sunday, December 30 ^th, to Monday, December 31 ^st, I saw Joseph and Mary with the Child visiting the Cave of the Nativity once more and taking leave of that holy place. They spread out the kings' carpet on Jesus' birthplace, laid the Child on it and prayed, and finally laid it on the place where He had been circumcised, kneeling down in prayer there, too. At dawn on Monday, December 31 ^st, I saw the Blessed Virgin mount the donkey, which the old shepherds had brought to the cave all equipped for the journey. Joseph held the Child while she settled herself comfortably; then he laid Him in her lap. She sat sideways on the saddle with her feet on a rather high support, facing backwards. She held the Child on her lap wrapped in her big veil and looked down on Him with an expression of great happiness. There were only a few rugs and small bundles on the donkey. Mary sat between them. The shepherds accompanied them part of their way before taking a moving farewell of them. They did not take the way by which they had come, but went between the Cave of the Nativity and the grave of Maraha, round the east side of Bethlehem. Nobody noticed them.

[January 30th:] This morning I saw them going very slowly on the short journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem: they must have made many halts. At midday I saw them resting on benches round a fountain with a roof over it. I saw some women coming to the Blessed Virgin and bringing her jugs with balsam and small loaves of bread. The Blessed Virgin's sacrifice for the Temple hung in a basket at the side of the donkey. This basket had three compartments, two of which were lined with something. These contained fruit. The third was of open wickerwork and a couple of doves could be seen in it. Towards evening I saw them enter a small house beside a large inn about a quarter of an hour from Jerusalem. This was kept by an old childless couple who welcomed them with particular affection. I now know why I mistook Anna's companions yesterday for the people from an inn in Jerusalem: I had seen them stopping here with these good old people on their way to Bethlehem, when they had no doubt arranged about a lodging for the Blessed Virgin. The old couple were Essenes and related to Joanna Chuza. The husband was a gardener by trade, trimmed hedges, and was employed in work on the road.

[February 1st:] I saw the Holy Family with these old innkeepers near Jerusalem during the whole of today. The Blessed Virgin was generally alone in her room with the Child, who lay on a rug on a low ledge projecting from the wall. She was praying all the time, and seemed to be preparing herself for the coming ceremony. It was revealed to me at the same time how one should prepare oneself for receiving Holy Communion.

I saw the appearance of a number of holy angels in her room, worshipping the Infant Jesus. I do not know whether the Blessed Virgin also saw these angels, but I think so, because I saw her rapt in contemplation. The good people of the inn did everything possible to please the Blessed Virgin: they must have been aware of the holiness of the Infant Jesus.

About seven o'clock in the evening I had a vision of the aged Simeon. He was a thin, very old man with a short beard. He was an ordinary priest, was married, and had three grown-up sons, the youngest of whom might have been about twenty. I saw Simeon, who lived close to the Temple, going through a narrow dark passage in the Temple walls into a small vaulted cell, built in the thickness of the wall. I saw nothing in this room but an opening through which one could look down into the Temple. I saw the aged Simeon kneeling here rapt in prayer. Then the appearance of an angel stood before him and warned him to take heed of the little child who should be first presented early next morning, for this was the Messiah for whom he had so long yearned. After he had seen Him, he would soon die. I saw this so plainly; the room was illuminated, and the holy old man was radiant with joy. Then I saw him going to his house and telling his wife with great joy what had been announced to him. After his wife had gone to bed, I saw Simeon betake himself to prayer again.

I never saw devout Israelites and their priests praying with such exaggerated gestures as the Jews today. I did, however, see them scourging themselves. I saw the prophetess Anna praying in her cell and having a vision about the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple.

[February 2nd:] This morning, while it was still dark, I saw the Holy Family, accompanied by the people of the inn, leaving the inn and going to Jerusalem to the Temple with the baskets of offerings and with the donkey laden for the journey. They went into a walled courtyard in the Temple. While Joseph and the innkeeper stabled the donkey in a shed, the Blessed Virgin and her Child were kindly received by an aged woman and led into the Temple by a covered passage. A light was carried, for it was still dark. No sooner had they entered this passage than the aged priest Simeon came, full of expectation, towards the Blessed Virgin. After addressing a few friendly words to her, he took the Child Jesus in his arms, pressed Him to his heart, and then hurried back to the Temple by another way. Yesterday's message from the angel had so filled him with longing to see the Child of the Promise, for whom he had sighed so long, that he had come out here to the place where the women arrived. He was dressed in long garments such as the priests wear when not officiating. I often saw him in the Temple, and always as an aged priest of no elevated rank. His great devoutness, simplicity, and enlightenment alone distinguished him.

The Blessed Virgin was led by her guide to the outer courts of the Temple where the ceremony took place, and she was here received by Noemi, her former teacher, and Anna, who both lived on this side of the Temple. Simeon, who now once more came out of the Temple to meet the Blessed Virgin, led her, with her Child in her arms, to the customary place for the redemption of the firstborn. Anna, to whom Joseph gave the basket with the offerings, followed her with Noemi. The doves were in the lower part of the basket; above them was a compartment with fruit. Joseph went by another door into the place set apart for men.

It must have been known in the Temple that several women were coming for the presentation ceremony, for everything was arranged. The room where the ceremony took place was as big as the parish church here in D?lmen. Many lamps were burning on its walls, forming pyramids of light. The little flames are at the end of a bent tube projecting from a golden disc which shines almost as brightly as the flame. Hanging from this disc by a woven cord is a little extinguisher which is used to put out the light without making any smell and removed again when the lamps are lit.

An oblong chest had been brought out by several priests and set before a kind of altar with what looked like horns at each corner. The doors of this chest were opened to form a stand on which a large tray was laid. This was covered first with a red cloth, and then with a transparent white one, which hung down to the ground on each side. Burning lamps with several branches were placed at the four corners of this table, in the middle of which was an oblong cradle flanked by two oval bowls containing two baskets. All these things had been brought out of drawers in the chest, with priests' vestments, which were laid on the other permanent altar. The table which had been set up for the offering was surrounded by a railing. On each side of this room were seats, raised one above the other, in which were priests saying prayers.

Simeon now approached the Blessed Virgin, in whose arms the Infant Jesus lay wrapped in a sky-blue covering, and led her through the railing to the table, where she laid the Child in the cradle. From this moment I saw an indescribable light filling the Temple. I saw that God Himself was in it, and above the Child I saw the heavens opening to disclose the Throne of the Holy Trinity. Simeon then led the Blessed Virgin back to the women's place. Mary wore a pale sky-blue dress, with a white veil, and was completely enveloped in a long yellow cloak. Simeon then went to the permanent altar on which the vestments had been laid out, and he and three other priests vested each other for the ceremony. They had a kind of little shield on their arms, and on their heads were caps divided like miters. One went behind and the other in front of the table of offering, while two others stood at the narrow ends of it praying over the Child. Anna now came up to Mary and handed her the basket of offerings, which contained fruit and doves in two separate compartments, one above the other. She led her to the railing in front of the table, and there both remained standing. Simeon, who was standing before the table, opened the railing, led Mary up to the table, and placed her offering on it. Fruit was placed in one of the oval dishes and coins in the other: the doves remained in the basket. [144] Simeon remained standing with Mary before the table of offering, and the priest who stood behind it lifted the Infant Jesus from the cradle and held Him up towards the different sides of the Temple, making a long prayer the while. He then gave the Child to Simeon, who laid Him once more in Mary's arms and prayed over her and the Child from a scroll hanging on a stand beside him. Simeon then led the Blessed Virgin back to where Anna was waiting for her in front of the railing, after which Anna took her back to the railed-off women's enclosure. Here some twenty women were waiting to present their firstborn. Joseph and the other men were standing farther back in the place for men.

The priests at the permanent altar now began a service with incense and prayers. The priests in the seats took part in this service, making gestures, but not such violent ones as the Jews of today. At the close of this ceremony, Simeon came up to where Mary was standing, took the Infant Jesus from her into his arms, speaking long and loudly over Him in raptures of joy and thanking God that He had fulfilled His Promise. He ended with his Nunc Dimittis [ Luke 2.29-32]. After the Presentation Joseph came up, and he and Mary listened with great reverence to Simeon's inspired words to the Blessed Virgin [ Luke 2.34]. When Simeon had finished speaking, the prophetess Anna was also filled with inspiration, and spoke long and loudly about the Infant Jesus, hailing His Mother as blessed. I saw that those who were present were greatly moved by all this, and the priests, too, seemed to hear something of what was happening; but no sort of disturbance was caused thereby. It seemed as if this loud inspired praying was nothing unusual, as if it often happened, and as if it must all be so. At the same time I saw that the hearts of all the bystanders were much moved, and all showed great reverence to the Child and His Mother. Mary was like a heavenly rose in radiance.

The Holy Family had, in appearance, made the most humble offering; but Joseph gave Anna and the aged Simeon many of the triangular yellow pieces in secret, to be used specially for poor girls who were being brought up in the Temple and could not afford the expense.

I saw the Blessed Virgin and her Child being accompanied by Anna and Noemi back to the outer court, whence they had fetched her, and there they took leave of each other. Joseph was there already with the two people from the inn; he had brought the donkey which carried Mary and the Child, and they started at once on their journey from the Temple through Jerusalem to Nazareth. I did not see the presentation of the other firstborn children that day, but I feel that they were all given a special grace, and that many of them were among the massacred Innocents.

The Presentation must have ended about nine o'clock this morning, for it was at this time that I saw the departure of the Holy Family. That day they traveled as far as Bethoron, where they spent the night at the house which had been the last stopping-place of the Blessed Virgin when she was brought to the Temple thirteen years before. The owner of this house seemed to me to be a schoolteacher. Servants sent by Anna were waiting here for them. They went to Nazareth by a much more direct road than on their way to Bethlehem, when they had avoided all towns and had only stopped at lonely houses. Joseph had left in pledge with his relations the young she ass which had shown him the way on their journey to Bethlehem, for he still intended to return to Bethlehem and build a house in the Shepherds' Valley. He had spoken to the shepherds about it, and told them that he was taking Mary to her mother only for a time until she should have recovered from the discomfort of her lodging. With this plan in his mind, he had left a good many things with the shepherds. Joseph had a strange kind of money with him; I think he must have been given it by the three kings. Inside his robe he had a kind of pouch, in which he carried a quantity of little thin shining yellow leaves rolled up in each other. Their corners were rounded and something was scratched on them. Judas' pieces of silver were thicker and tongue-shaped; the whole pieces were rounded at both ends and the half pieces at one end only. Source

* * *
The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

The Feast of Candlemas was represented to me in a great picture, but one very difficult to describe, although I recollect much of what I saw.

I saw a feast being celebrated in the Church, transparent and floating above the earth, as I always am shown the Catholic Church when I am to contemplate it, not as some particular local church, but as the Universal Church itself. I saw this Church filled with choirs of angels surrounding the Most Holy Trinity. Since, however, I saw the Second Person of that Most Holy Trinity being presented and redeemed in the Temple, incarnate in the form of the Infant Jesus and yet present in the Most Holy Trinity, it seemed to me, as it did a short time ago, that the Child Jesus was sitting near me and comforting me at the same time that I saw a vision of the Holy Trinity. I saw the appearance of the Word become Flesh, the Infant Jesus, at my side, connected with the vision of the Trinity as it were by a path of light. I could not say, He is not there, since He is with me', nor could I say, He is not with me, since He is there'. And yet, in the instant when I had a vivid sensation of the Child Jesus being near me, the representation of the Most Holy Trinity was shown to me, but in a different form from that in which I see it when it is a picture of the Godhead alone.

I saw an altar appear in the center of the Church--not an altar like those in our churches today, but just an altar. On this altar stood a little tree of the same kind as the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, with broad hanging leaves. Then I saw the Blessed Virgin rise before the altar with the Infant Jesus in her arms as if she had come up out of the earth; and I saw the tree on the altar bow before her and then wither away. And I saw a great angel in priest's vestments, with only a ring round his head, approach Mary. She gave him the Child, whom he placed on the altar, and in the same moment I saw the Child thus offered up pass into the picture of the Holy Trinity, which I now saw once more in its usual form. I saw, too, that the angel gave the Mother of God a little bright globe surmounted by the figure of a child in swaddling-bands, and that Mary floated with this gift towards the altar. I saw crowds of poor people coming to her from all sides bearing lights: she handed all these lights to the Child on the globe, into whom they passed. And I saw a light and a radiance being thrown by these lights on Mary and the Child, illuminating everything. Mary had a flowing mantle which spread over the whole earth. The picture was then transformed into a festal ceremony.

I think that the withering of the Tree of Knowledge at Mary's appearance, and the passing of the Child on the altar into the Holy Trinity signified the reunion of mankind with God. That is why I saw all the scattered individual lights handed to the Mother of God and given by her to the Child Jesus: for He was the light enlightening all mankind, in whom alone all the scattered lights became one light to enlighten the whole world, symbolized by the globe, the orb of a king. The lights presented to the Blessed Virgin signified the Blessing of the Candles at today's feast. Source
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary





"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Taken from here.

[Image: ?u=http%3A%2F%2F2.bp.blogspot.com%2F-wY0...f=1&nofb=1]

This great solemnity, which closes the holy season of Christmas, has been established in commemoration of the two last mysteries of our Saviour's Birth and Infancy.

The most pure and beautiful Virgin, in obedience to the law, presented the child Jesus in the temple, offering a couple of turtle-doves for her purification, and five sicles as a ransom for her first-born, Jesus. On this day is fulfilled the prophecy of Aggeus concerning the Messiah, Agg. ii. 8: "Yet one little while . . . and I will move all nations: and the Desired of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory." This day St. Simeon and holy Anna, full of the Holy Ghost, recognise our Lord and welcome Him into the temple, as the Salvation, the Light, and the Peace of the world.

Wax candles are solemnly blessed on this day, in commemoration of our Lord, whom they represent as the Light of the world: "Three things," says St. Anselm of Canterbury, "may be considered in the blest candle: the wax, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on the top, is His Divinity." These blest candles are to be carried in procession, in remembrance of that wondrous procession made in the temple by our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Simeon, and holy Anna. They should also be kept, to be used by the faithful either on land or sea, and especially to be lit near the bed of a dying Christian, as a symbol of the immortality merited for us by Christ, and as a pledge of the protection of our Lady.

A Prayer to Mary, Queen of Heaven and our Advocate

"Mary is that woman by whom hell is overcome, the devil trodden upon, man saved."--St. Anselm.

Hail, Queen of Heaven, the ocean star,
Guide of the wand'rer here below!
Thrown on life's surge we claim thy care,
Save us from peril and from woe.

Mother of Christ, Star of the Sea,
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.
Sojourners in this vale of tears,
To thee, blest advocate, we cry;
Pity our sorrows, calm our fears,
And soothe with hope our misery.

Refuge in grief, Star of the Sea,
Pray for the mourner, pray for me.
O gentle, chaste, and spotless Maid,
We sinners make our prayers through thee;
Remind thy Son that He has paid
The price of our iniquity.

Virgin most pure, Star of the Sea,
Pray for the sinner, pray for me.
And while to Him who reigns above,
In Godhead One, in Persons Three,
The source of life, of grace, of love,
Homage we pay on bended knee;
Do thou, bright Queen, Star of the Sea,
Pray for thy children, pray for me.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Mystical City of God
Book 4 - Chapter 7

[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.c...f=1&nofb=1]


The sacred humanity of Christ belonged to the eternal Father not only because it was created like other beings, but it was his special property by virtue of the hypostatic union with the person of the Word, for this person of the Word, being his Only-begotten Son, was engendered of his substance, true God of true God. Nevertheless the eternal Father had decreed, that his Son should be presented to Him in the temple in mysterious compliance with the law, of which Christ our Lord was the end (Rom. 10, 4). It was established for no other purpose than that the just men of the old Testament should perpetually sanctify and offer to the Lord their first–born sons, in the hope that one thus presented might prove to be the Son of God and a Child of the Mother of the expected Messias (Exod. 13, 2). According to our way of thinking his Majesty acted like men, who are apt to repeat and enjoy over and over again a thing which has caused them enjoyment. For although the Father understood and knew all things in his infinite wisdom, He sought pleasure in the offering of the incarnate Word, which by so many titles already belonged to Him.

This will of the eternal Father, which was conformable to that of his Son in so far as He was God, was known to the Mother of life and of the human nature of the Word; for She saw that all his interior actions were in unison with the will of his eternal Father. Full of this holy science the great Princess passed the night before his presentation in the temple in divine colloquies. Speaking to the Father She said: “My Lord and God most high, Father of my Lord, a festive day for heaven and earth will be that, in which I shall bring and offer to Thee in thy holy temple the living Host, which is at the same time the Treasure of thy Divinity. Rich, O my Lord and God, is this oblation; and Thou canst well pour forth, in return for it, thy mercies upon the human race: pardoning the sinners, that have turned from the straight path, consoling the afflicted, helping the needy, enriching the poor, succoring the weak, enlightening the blind, and meeting those who have strayed away. This is, my Lord, what I ask of thee in offering to Thee thy Only-begotten, who, by thy merciful condescension is also my Son. If Thou hast given Him to me as a God, I return Him to Thee as God and man; his value is infinite, and what I ask of Thee is much less. In opulence do I return to thy holy temple, from which I departed poor; and my soul shall magnify Thee forever, because thy divine right hand has shown itself toward me so liberal and powerful.”

On the next morning, the Sun of heaven being now ready to issue from its purest dawning, the Virgin Mary, on whose arms He reclined, and being about to rise up in full view of the world, the heavenly Lady, having provided the turtle–dove and two candles, wrapped Him in swaddling–clothes and betook Herself with saint Joseph from their lodging to the temple. The holy angels, who had come with them from Bethlehem, again formed in procession in corporeal and most beautiful forms, just as has been said concerning the journey of the preceding day. On this occasion however the holy spirits added many other hymns of the sweetest and most entrancing harmony in honor of the infant God, which were heard only by the most pure Mary. Besides the ten thousand, who had formed the procession on the previous day, innumerable others descended from heaven, who, accompanied by those that bore the shields of the holy name Jesus, formed the guard of honor of the incarnate Word on the occasion of his presentation. These however were not in corporeal shapes and only the heavenly Princess perceived their presence. Having arrived at the temple–gate, the most blessed Mother was filled with new exalted sentiments of devotion. Joining the other women, She bowed and knelt to adore the Lord in spirit and in truth in his holy temple and She presented Herself before the exalted Majesty of God with his Son upon her arms (John 4, 23). Immediately She was immersed in an intellectual vision of the most holy Trinity and She heard a voice issuing from the eternal Father, saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I well pleased” (Matth. 27, 20). Saint Joseph, the most fortunate of men, felt at the same time a new sweetness of the Holy Ghost, which filled him with joy and divine light.

The holy high–priest Simeon, moved by the Holy Ghost as explained in the preceding chapter, also entered temple at that time (Luke 2, 7). Approaching the place where the Queen stood with the infant Jesus in her arms, he saw both Mother and Child enveloped in splendor and glory. The prophetess Anne, who, as the Evangelist says, had come at the same hour, also saw Mary and her Infant surrounded by this wonderful light. In the joy of their spirit both of them approached the Queen of heaven, and the priest received the Infant Jesus from her arms upon his hands. Raising up his eyes to heaven he offered Him up to the eternal Father, pronouncing at the same time these words so full of mysteries: “Now dost thou dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy Word in peace. Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light for the revelation of the gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2, 29). It was as if He had said: “Now, Lord, thou wilt release me from the bondage of this mortal body and let me go free and in peace; for until now have I been detained in it by the hope of seeing thy promises fulfilled and by the desire of seeing thy Only-begotten made man. Now that my eyes have seen thy salvation, the Onlybegotten made man, joined to our nature in order to give it eternal welfare according to the intention and eternal decree of thy infinite wisdom and mercy, I shall enjoy true and secure peace. Now, O Lord, Thou hast prepared and placed before all mortals thy divine light that it may shine upon the world and that all who wish may enjoy it throughout the universe and derive therefrom guidance and salvation. For this is the light which is revealed to the gentiles for the glory of thy chosen people of Israel” (John I, 9, 32).

Most holy Mary and saint Joseph heard this canticle of Simeon, wondering at the exalted revelation it contained. The Evangelist calls them in this place the parents of the divine Infant, for such they were in the estimation of the people who were present at this event. Simeon, addressing himself to the most holy Mother of the Infant Jesus, then added: “Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.” Thus saint Simeon; and being a priest he gave his blessing to the happy parents of the Child. Then also the prophetess Anne acknowledged the incarnate Word, and full of the Holy Ghost, she spoke of the mysteries of the Messias to many, who were expecting the redemption of Israel. By these two holy old people public testimony of the coming of the Redeemer was given to the world.

At the moment when the priest Simeon mentioned the sword and the sign of contradiction, which were prophetical of the passion and death of the Lord, the Child bowed its head. Thereby, and by many interior acts of obedience, Jesus ratified the prophecy of the priest and accepted it as the sentence of the eternal Father pronounced by his minister. All this the loving Mother noticed and understood; She presently began to feel the sorrow predicted by Simeon and thus in advance was She wounded by the sword, of which She had thus been warned. As in a mirror her spirit was made to see all the mysteries included in this prophecy; how her most holy Son was to be the stone of stumbling, the perdition of the unbelievers, and the salvation of the faithful; the fall of the synagogue and the establishment the Church among the heathens; She foresaw the triumph to be gained over the devils and over death, but also that a great price was to be paid for it, namely the frightful agony and death of the Cross (Colos. 2, 15). She foresaw the boundless opposition and contradiction, which the Lord Jesus was to sustain both personally and in his Church (John 15, 20). At the same time She also saw the glory and excellence of the predestined souls. Most holy Mary knew it all and in the joy and sorrow of her most pure soul, excited by the prophecies of Simeon and these hidden mysteries, She performed heroic acts of virtue. All these sayings and happenings were indelibly impressed upon her memory, and, of all that She understood and experienced, She forgot not the least iota. At all times She looked upon her most holy Son with such a living sorrow, as we, mere human creatures with hearts so full of ingratitude, shall never be able to feel. The holy spouse saint Joseph was by these prophecies also made to see many of the mysteries of the Redemption and of the labors and sufferings of Jesus. But the Lord did not reveal them to him so copiously and openly as they were perceived and understood by his heavenly spouse; for in him these revelations were to serve a different purpose, and besides, saint Joseph was not to be an eyewitness of them during his mortal life.

The ceremony of the presentation thus being over, the great Lady kissed the hand of the priest and again asked his blessing. The same She did also to Anne, her former teacher; for her dignity as Mother of God, the highest possible to angels or men, did not prevent Her from these acts of deepest humility. Then, in the company of saint Joseph, her spouse, and of the fourteen thousand angels in procession, She returned with the divine Infant to her lodging. They remained, as I shall relate farther on, for some days in Jerusalem, in order to satisfy their devotion and during that time She spoke a few times with the priest about the mysteries of the Redemption and of the prophecies above mentioned.

When the most holy Mary and glorious saint Joseph returned from the presentation of the Infant Jesus in the temple, they concluded to stay in Jerusalem for nine days in order to be able each day to visit the temple and repeat the offering of the sacred Victim, their divine Son, thus rendering fitting thanks for the immense blessing for which they had been singled out from among all men. The heavenly Lady had a special veneration for this number in memory of the nine days, during which She had been prepared and adorned by God for the incarnation of the Word, as I have related in the first ten chapters of this second part; also in memory of the nine months, during which She had borne Jesus in her virginal womb. In honor of these events She wished make this novena with her divine Child, presenting Him that many times to the eternal Father as an acceptable offering for her lofty purposes. They began the devotions of the novena every day before the third hour, praying in the temple until nightfall. They chose the most obscure and retired place, meriting thereby the invitation of the master of the banquet in the Gospel: “Friend, go up higher.”

As an answer to her petitions He conceded to Her new and great privileges, among which was also this one, that, as long as the world should last, She should obtain all that She would ever ask for her clients; that the greatest sinners, if they availed themselves of her intercession, should find salvation; that in the new Church and law of the Gospel She should be the Cooperatrix and Teacher of salvation with Christ her most holy Son. This was to be her privilege especially after his Ascension into heaven, when She should remain, as Queen of the universe, as the representative and instrument of the divine power on earth. This I will show more particularly in the third part of this history. Many other favors and mysteries the Most High confirmed upon the heavenly Mother in answer to her prayers. They, however, are beyond the reach of spoken language, and cannot be described by my short and limited terms.

In the course of these manifestations, on the fifth day of the novena after the presentation and purification, while the heavenly Lady was in the temple with the Infant on her arms, the Deity revealed Itself to Her, although not intuitively, and She was wholly raised and filled by the Spirit. It is true, that this had been done to Her before; but as God’s power and treasures are infinite, He never gives so much as not to be able to give still more to the creatures. In this abstractive vision the Most High visited anew his only Spouse, wishing to prepare Her for the labors, that were awaiting Her. Speaking to Her, He comforted Her saying: “My Spouse and my Dove, thy wishes and intentions are pleasing in my eyes and I delight in them always. But Thou canst not finish the nine days’ devotion, which Thou hast begun, for I have in store for Thee other exercises of Thy love. In order to save the life of thy Son and raise Him up, Thou must leave thy home and thy country, fly with Him and thy spouse Joseph into Egypt, where Thou art to remain until I shall ordain otherwise: for Herod is seeking the life of the Child. The journey is long, most laborious and most fatiguing; do thou suffer it all for my sake; for I am, and always will be, with Thee.”

Any other faith and virtue might have been disturbed (as the incredulous really have been) to see the powerful God flying from a miserable earthly being, and that He should do so in order to save his life, as if He, being both God and man, could be affected by the fear of death. But the most prudent and obedient Mother advanced no objection or doubt: She was not in the least disturbed or moved by this unlooked for order. Answering, She said: “My Lord and Master, behold thy servant with a heart prepared to die for thy love if necessary. Dispose of me according to thy will. This only do I ask of thy immense goodness, that, overlooking my want of merit and gratitude, Thou permit not my Son and Lord to suffer, and that Thou turn all pains and labor upon me, who am obliged to suffer them.” The Lord referred Her to saint Joseph, bidding Her to follow his directions in all things concerning the journey. Therewith She issued from her vision, which She had enjoyed without losing the use of her exterior senses and while holding in her arms the Infant Jesus. She had been raised up in this vision only as to the superior part of her soul; but from it flowed other gifts, which spiritualized her senses and testified to Her that her soul was living more in its love than in the earthly habitation of her body.

On account of the incomparable love, which the Queen bore toward her most holy Son, her maternal and compassionate heart was somewhat harrowed at the thought of the labors which She foresaw in the vision impending upon the infant God. Shedding many tears, She left the temple to go to her lodging–place, without manifesting to her spouse the cause of her sorrow. Saint Joseph therefore thought that She grieved on account of the prophecy of Simeon. As the most faithful Joseph loved Her so much, and as he was of a kind and solicitous disposition, he was troubled to see his Spouse so tearful and afflicted, and that She should not manifest to him the cause of this new affliction. This disturbance of his soul was one of the reasons why the holy angels spoke to him in sleep, as I have related above, when speaking of the pregnancy of the Queen. For in the same night, while saint Joseph was asleep, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, and spoke to him as recorded by saint Matthew: “Arise, take the Child and its Mother and fly into Egypt ; there shalt thou remain until I shall return to give thee other advice; for Herod is seeking after the Child in order to take away its life.” Immediately the holy spouse arose full of solicitude and sorrow, foreseeing also that of his most loving Spouse. Entering upon her retirement, he said: “My Lady, God wills that we should be afflicted; for his holy angel has announced to me the pleasure and the decree of the Almighty, that we arise and fly with the Child into Egypt, because Herod is seeking to take away its life. Encourage thyself, my Lady, to bear the labors of this journey and tell me what I can do for thy comfort, since I hold my life and being at the service of thy Child and of Thee.”

“My husband and my master,” answered the Queen, “if we have received from the hands of the Most High such great blessings of grace, it is meet that we joyfully accept temporal afflictions (Job 2, 13). We bear with us the Creator of heaven and earth; if He has placed us so near to Him, what arms shall be able to harm us, even if it be the arm of Herod? Wherever we carry with us all our Good, the highest treasure of heaven, our Lord, our guide and true light, there can be no desert; but He is our rest, our portion, and our country. All these goods we possess in having his company; let us proceed to fulfill his will.” Then most holy Mary and Joseph approached the crib where the Infant Jesus lay; and where He, not by chance, slept at that time. The heavenly Mother uncovered Him without awakening Him; then the heavenly Mother, falling upon her knees, awakened the sweetest Infant, and took Him in her arms. Jesus, in order to move Her to greater tenderness and in order to show Himself as true man, wept a little (O wonders of the Most High in things according to our judgments so small)! Yet He was soon again quieted; and when the most holy Mother and saint Joseph asked his blessing He gave it them in visible manner. Gathering their poor clothing into the casket and loading it on the beast of burden which they had brought from Nazareth, departed shortly after midnight, and hastened without delay on their journey to Egypt.

The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain

My daughter, what thou must especially learn from this chapter is, that thou accustom thyself to humble thanksgiving for the benefits which thou receivest, since thou, among many generations, art so specially signalized by the riches of grace with which my Son and I visit thee without any merit of thine. I was wont to repeat many times this verse of David: “What shall I render the Lord for all the things that he hath rendered to me?” (Ps. 15, 12). In such sentiments I humiliated myself to the dust, esteeming myself altogether useless among creatures. Therefore, if thou knowest what I did as Mother of God, consider what then is thy obligation, since thou must with so much truth confess thyself unworthy and undeserving of all thou receivest, and so poorly furnished for giving thanks and for making payment. Thou must supply thy insufficiency and thy misery by offering up to the eternal Father the living host of his only-begotten Son, especially when thou receivest Him in the holy Sacrament and possessest Him within thee: for in this thou shouldst also imitate David, who, after asking the Lord what return he should make for all his benefits, answers: “I will take the chalice of salvation; and I will call upon the name of the Lord” (Ps. 115, 13). Thou must accept the salvation offered thee and bring forth its fruits by the perfection of thy works, calling upon the name of the Lord, offering up his Only-begotten. For He it is who gave the virtue of salvation, who merited it, who alone can be an adequate return for the blessings conferred upon the human race and upon thee especially. I have given Him human form in order that He might converse with men and become the property of each one. He conceals Himself under the appearances of bread and wine in order to accommodate himself to the needs of each one, and that each one might consider Him as his personal property fit to offer to the eternal Father. In this way He furnishes to each one an oblation which no one could otherwise offer, and the Most High rests satisfied with it, since there is not anything more acceptable nor anything more precious in the possession of creatures.

In addition to this offering is the resignation with which souls embrace and bear with equanimity and patience the labors and difficulties of mortal life. My most holy Son and I were eminent Masters in the practice of this doctrine. My Son began to teach it from the moment in which He was conceived in my womb. For already then He began to suffer, and as soon as He was born into the world He and I were banished by Herod into a desert, and his sufferings continued until He died on the Cross. I also labored to the end of my life, as thou wilt be informed more and more in the writing of this history. Since, therefore, We suffered so much for creatures and for their salvation, I desire thee to imitate Us in this conformity to the divine will as being his spouse and my daughter. Suffer with a magnanimous heart, and labor to increase the possessions of thy Lord and Master, namely, souls, which are so precious in his sight and which He has purchased with his life–blood. Never shouldst thou fly from labors, difficulties, bitterness and sorrows, if by any of them thou canst gain a soul for the Lord, or if thou canst thereby induce it to leave the path of sin and enter the path of life. Let not the thought that thou art so useless and or that thy desires and labor avail but little, discourage thee; since thou canst not know how the Lord will accept of them and in how far He shall consider Himself served thereby. At least thou shouldst wish to labor assiduously and eat no unearned bread in his house (Prov. 31, 27).

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)