Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on which we celebrate Jesus being presented in the Temple by Our Lady and St. Joseph in accordance with Jewish law. This event is also the fourth mystery of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the fruit of which is obedience. It is in Luke's Gospel, where we read about our Lord' Presentation, we encounter the figures of Anna the prophetess and Simeon.



"Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said," (Luke 2:25-28 ESV)
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32 ESV).
This prayer, known as the Nunc dimmittis (the first words of the prayer in Latin, "now dismiss," "now you are letting ... depart"). The Nunc dimmittis is the Gospel Canticle for Night Prayer just as the Benedictus is for Morning Prayer and the Magnificat is for Evening Prayer.

For centuries the Feast of the Presentation, formerly known as Candlemas, formally marked the end of the Christmas season. My lovely wife leaves out Nativity up in one of the nooks of our fireplace mantle until the Presentation, which I appreciate and enjoy greatly. So, even if it is not you practice, especially if it is not your practice, pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary today, bringing your needs and those near to you to Our Lady, who, as this feast shows, is always faithful, humbly petitioning her for her maternal help.

Fifty years ago today, 2 February 1962, Bl. John XXIII announced the opening date for the Second Vatican Council, which my dear brother, Deacon Eric, has chronicled over on Conciliara.

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