February 2nd is the Feast of Candlemas. It celebrates the presentation of Christ at the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary forty days after Christmas. This is the event described in the Gospel of Luke when the Virgin and St. Joseph present Jesus at the Temple and the faithful Simeon and Anna behold and recognize Jesus as the Messiah they have been waiting for. After seeing the infant Christ he had been promised to see before death, Simeon prays the Nunc Dimittis in Luke 2:29-32:
Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior
whom you have prepared for all the world to see,
A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.
I’m not sure if this emphasis on Christ as the Light of the World is what began the tradition to bless candles on this feast day, but it would make sense.
In order to celebrate this day, we made candles with wax and cloves (see above) and cooked dishes from Brother Victor Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette’s Sacred Feasts which is fantastic. He is the author of 12 Months of Monastery Soups our friend Marianna gave Daniel for Christmas last year and which we have used frequently this year. What I particularly like about Sacred Feasts is that because the author cooks with foods from a monastery garden the recipes correspond to vegetables that are in season and are simple and inexpensive. The author also includes beautiful introductions to feast days that I find really helpful.
Eleanor, Kaitlyn, and I made Squash Polenta and a Vegetable Tian from Sacred Feasts and the Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes. Daniel made homemade bread and Heather made a Pear Tart.
We shared a meal and blessed the candles using this blessing from The Catholic Home:
Lord Jesus Christ,
Pour forth your blessing on these candles and
sanctify them by the light of your grace.
May our hearts be illuminated by your light,
May our actions be guided by your light,
so that when our lives here are finished, we may come into the ternal presence of your redeeming light.
We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
You’re also supposed to remove any remnants of Christmas décor on Candlemas. We did take down the ornaments, but the 11 foot Noble Fir is still in the living room.
Here’s a picture of our little boy that Daniel took last week:
Please pray for Daniel’s grandmother who broke her hip in a fall this week and had surgery tonight.