Today, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, is also the celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life. This day of prayer, 40 days after Christmas, was instituted in 1997 by Pope John Paul II. Also known as Candlemas Day, it is the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ, the light of the world. Consecrated men and women, by their profession of vows, are called to be this light of Christ in the world.
There was an article on the internet talking about the link between Candlemas Day and Groundhog Day. It is not as farfetched as it first appears.
Candlemas Day got its name about thousand years ago when people began bringing candles, their source of light, to be blessed. In the darkened church, the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Simeon had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah (Luke 2: 29-32). When he saw Jesus, he took Him in his arms and praised God, saying:
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.
One recalls the words of Isaiah as well: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined (Isaiah 9:2).
An ancient English poem, called Candlemas Day, reads in part:
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
The Feast of the Presentation will be celebrated in the United States in parishes on Sunday, February 8, 2015. Let us pray for those who have consecrated their lives to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, that they may live these vows with renewed fervor, open hearts and steadfastness for the sake of God’s people and their own salvation. May they be a light that ignites the hearts of all.