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CANDLEMAS The Encounter Between Chaos and Light
Catholic Information Network ^ | 02.01.03

Posted on 02/01/2003 5:06:44 PM PST by Coleus

CANDLEMAS The Encounter Between Chaos and Light Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

In everyday modern life we are hardly aware that on February 2nd we celebrate an ancient feast, common to the Church of both East and West, which used to have a great significance in the rural calendar: Candlemas. Tributaries from many historical sources have flowed together into this feast, with the result that it sparkles with many colors. Its immediate reference is to the event when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to perform the prescribed sacrifice of purification. The liturgy focuses mainly on one detail of Luke's portrayal: the meeting between the Child Jesus and the aged Simeon. Thus in the Greek-speaking world the feast was called HYPAPANTI (the encounter). In this juxtaposition of the Child and the old man, the Church sees the encounter between the passing heathen world and the new beginning in Christ, between the fading age of the Old Covenant and the new era of the Church of all nations.

What this expresses is more than the eternal recurrence of death and becoming; it is more than the consoling thought that the passing of one generation is always succeeded by a new one with new ideas and hopes. If that were all, this Child would not represent a hope for Simeon but only for himself. But it is more: it is hope for everyone, because it is a hope transcending death.

This brings us to a second aspect of this day which the liturgy illuminates. It takes up the words of Simeon when he calls this Child "a light to enlighten the Gentiles". Accordingly this day was made into a feast of candles. The warm candlelight is meant to be a tangible reminder of that greater light which, for and beyond all time, radiates from the figure of Jesus. In Rome this candlelit procession supplanted a rowdy, dissolate carnival, the so-called Amburbale, which had survived from paganism right into Christian times. The pagan procession had magical features: it was supposed to effect the purification of the city and the repelling of evil powers. To remind people of this, the Christian procession was originally celebrated in black vestments and then in purple--until the Council's liturgical reform. Thus the element of encounter, again, was evident in this procession: the pagan world's wild cry for purification, liberation, deliverance from dark powers, meets the "light to enlighten the Gentiles", the mild and humble light of Jesus Christ. The failing (and yet still active) aeon of a foul, chaotic, enslaved and enslaving world encounters the purifying power of the Christian message.

It reminds me of something the playwright Eugene Ionesco wrote. As the inventor of the Theatre of the Absurd, he articulated the cry of an absurd world and was increasingly aware that it was a cry for God. "History", he said recently, "is a process of corruption, it is chaotic, unless it is oriented to the supernatural." The candle-lit procession in black garments, the symbolic encounter between chaos and light which it represents, should remind us of this truth and give us courage to see the supernatural, not as a waste of time, distracting us from the business of ameliorating the world, but as the only way in which meaning can be brought to bear on the chaotic side of life. ------------ Reproduced from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Seek That Which Is Above, Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 1986), with permission of the publishers.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: candlemas; candlemassunday; catholic; catholiclist; presentation
Jesus, the Light of the World.
1 posted on 02/01/2003 5:06:44 PM PST by Coleus
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To: *Catholic_list
February 2

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03245b.htm

Reading I
Mal 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God:
Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire,
or like the fuller's lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
R Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Reading II
Heb 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh,
Jesus likewise shared in them,
that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Gospel
Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted –and you yourself a sword will pierce– so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
2 posted on 02/01/2003 5:12:44 PM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: Coleus
thanks. i needed that.
3 posted on 02/01/2003 7:10:31 PM PST by WriteOn
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; american colleen; annalex; ...
`
4 posted on 02/02/2003 11:21:15 AM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: Coleus
I don't know how I missed this, Coleus. It is wonderful.

God bless you for posting it.

5 posted on 02/02/2003 5:05:08 PM PST by Siobhan (+ Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy +)
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To: JMJ333; EODGUY; ELS; frogandtoad; Desdemona; B-Chan; B Knotts; Campion; chatham; Gerish; ...
Cardinal Ratzinger bump.
6 posted on 02/02/2003 5:09:21 PM PST by Siobhan (+ Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy +)
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To: american colleen; tiki; WaveThatFlag; perform_to_strangers; RobbyS
Cardinal Ratzinger bump.
7 posted on 02/02/2003 5:10:38 PM PST by Siobhan (+ Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy +)
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To: Siobhan
Thanks so much for the all the great flags, Siobhan.
8 posted on 02/02/2003 5:23:50 PM PST by Askel5
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To: BlessedBeGod
Cardinal Ratzinger bump
9 posted on 02/02/2003 5:40:27 PM PST by Siobhan (+ Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet +)
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To: Coleus
I have been searching in vain for a church SOMEWHERE in our diocese that has a tradtional Candlemas service. Not only have I not found a traditional Candlemas service...I haven't found a traditional ANYTHING.

It makes me very sad.

Regards,
10 posted on 02/02/2003 5:56:14 PM PST by VermiciousKnid
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To: VermiciousKnid
I never knew about that nor St. Joseph's Day (a solemnity) until my pastor initiated the service a few years ago. Sadly, The New Catholic tradition is to rid itself of ALL traditions.
11 posted on 02/02/2003 6:12:49 PM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: Coleus
Jesus, the Light of the World.

Amen! The visiting priest explained Candlemas today, much to my delight! In between the hand-clapping crummy 70s songs, he told of how all the candles used this year in the Church are blessed today. It was wonderful. As is the choir if only the pastor would let them sing what they would like to sing instead of the kumbaya stuff he wants. All in all, a very good day!

Today my daughter balked on sitting down and studying this week's chapter of the Faith and Life series we use. When I explained that it is my duty as a parent to educate her to learn Catholicism so that she'll love it in order to be able to live it and I asked her whether she'd rather be on her deathbed with a copy of "teen magazine" or the crucifix on the wall, she laughed and said "you are right - which chapter?" Thank you, Jesus!

12 posted on 02/02/2003 7:12:31 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: Coleus
Sadly, The New Catholic tradition is to rid itself of ALL traditions.

Tell me about it. Today I was subjected to the double torture of our "music ministry" belting out the truly awful Christ, Be Our Light (again), as well as the sights and sounds of ELVIS! (AKA the guy who leads the congregation in song). I tell you, the guy thinks he's on Ed Sullivan. MOST unseemly -- he actually barked today, a la Shania Twain. Ow! Ow!

I'm thisclose to complaining to the monsignor about it, though in all honesty, that thought makes me very uncomfortable -- I really don't want to be rude.

Any advice?

Regards,

13 posted on 02/02/2003 8:11:54 PM PST by VermiciousKnid
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To: VermiciousKnid
Just be polite and tell them how good things used to be years ago with traditional organ music, songs and singing and see if he can have a least one mass that way; and remind him many people, not just you, are yearnig for that type of mass; it's a start.
14 posted on 02/02/2003 8:22:20 PM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: Coleus
Thanks for the advice...I suppose it can't hurt.

Regards,
15 posted on 02/02/2003 8:24:36 PM PST by VermiciousKnid
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To: VermiciousKnid
We had one at our Church! I've never been to one but it was nice and unexpected. Our priest is the most unorganized, absent-minded professor type and no-one, including the Sacristan, knew about it. I think he just realized at the last minute what day it was and acted on the spur of the moment.
16 posted on 02/02/2003 10:23:12 PM PST by tiki
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To: Coleus
Sunday was one of the Great Feasts--the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.The icon shows aged Simeon holding the infant God as Mary and Joseph look on.

After Liturgy candles are blessed.We each take away one to be lighted during "home blessings" done this time of year.

This has not changed in the Eastern Church and will not.

17 posted on 02/03/2003 5:52:27 AM PST by IGNATIUS
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To: VermiciousKnid
I just returned from morning Mass a few moments ago. At the conclusion of the Mass the pastor invoked special individual blessing of St. Blase on each and every member. Truly a humbling experience.
18 posted on 02/03/2003 6:48:21 AM PST by ejo
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To: Siobhan
Thank you, you too.
19 posted on 02/03/2003 8:59:19 AM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: ejo
Our parish is holding St. Blase's Mass tonight. I don't know what sort of service it will be, but I will be bringing my 4-year-old son with me. Our John is essentially silent. He CAN talk, but he won't, so we thought perhaps attending the Mass for the patron saint of throat ailments might help.

I'll let you know how it went.

Regards,
20 posted on 02/03/2003 11:49:21 AM PST by VermiciousKnid
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To: tiki
When I was a little girl, the Candlemas service was one of my favorites. All the beautiful candles, the smell of incense in the air...it was wonderous.

Now...nothing. Besides, I don't know why they'd need to actually bless any candles in our parish. They don't use them on the altar at all. I haven't seen the Paschal candle in YEARS.

I'm glad your parish took the time to honor this special day. Absent-minded-professor pastor or not...the man is on the ball on this.

Regards,
21 posted on 02/03/2003 11:53:23 AM PST by VermiciousKnid
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To: VermiciousKnid
You are right about the priest, he is wonderful and spiritual and wants to do everything right. We just know that we have to help him out as much as we can:-}

Our parish makes a big deal of the Paschal candle and it is present throughout the year.

22 posted on 02/03/2003 12:37:10 PM PST by tiki
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To: Coleus
BTTT!
23 posted on 02/03/2003 10:23:18 PM PST by Salvation (+With God all things are possible.+)
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To: Coleus
JMJ333 posted lots of prayers here in the Daily Readings thread for 03-03-03.

How's that for a Trinity Date?

24 posted on 02/03/2003 10:26:03 PM PST by Salvation (+With God all things are possible.+)
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bttt

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03245b.htm
25 posted on 02/07/2004 10:12:08 AM PST by Coleus (STOPP Planned Parenthood http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/892053/posts)
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To: Coleus
Thanks for bumping this!
26 posted on 02/07/2004 10:30:19 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus

BTTT on February 2, 2005!


27 posted on 02/02/2005 9:02:56 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus

Bump for "Anna the Prophetess", I love that short passage.


28 posted on 02/03/2005 1:13:54 AM PST by Ciexyz (I use the term Blue Cities, not Blue States. PA is red except for Philly, Pgh & Erie)
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To: Coleus

BTTT on Candlemas Day. Also the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, February 2, 2006!


29 posted on 02/01/2006 4:51:09 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus

Interesting, thanks


30 posted on 02/01/2006 4:56:23 PM PST by Sunsong
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To: Coleus

What a great find, thanks for posting. It gives a whole new, deeper perspective on the feast for me. Bookmarking.


31 posted on 02/01/2006 5:00:42 PM PST by fortunecookie
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...
The Purification, Commonly Called Candlemas-Day
Alban Butler (The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, 1864)
Candlemas Day (Activity)
Prayer for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas) (Prayer)
Family Candlemas Procession (Prayer)
Procession on Candlemas (Activity)
Candlemas in the Home (Activity)

32 posted on 02/01/2006 8:25:42 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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The Mysteries of Candlemas

33 posted on 02/02/2006 2:03:52 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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To: Coleus; Happygal; Colosis; blackbird149
In everyday modern life we are hardly aware that on February 2nd we celebrate an ancient feast, common to the Church of both East and West, which used to have a great significance in the rural calendar: Candlemas.

We get distracted by St. Brigid's Day (Feb 1st) here in Ireland!!


34 posted on 02/02/2006 2:22:30 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (~~~A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!~~~)
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To: Salvation

BTTT on Candlemas Day. Also the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, February 2, 2006! >>>

See, I reread the thread and learned something new..thanks..St. Blase today...


35 posted on 02/02/2011 9:11:18 PM PST by Coleus (Adult Stem Cells Work, there is NO Need to Harvest Babies for Their Body Parts!)
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bttt


36 posted on 02/02/2013 7:47:36 PM PST by Coleus
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To: Salvation

.


37 posted on 02/01/2014 8:17:53 PM PST by Coleus
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