If Candlemas day be dry and fair
|The Dubrovnik reliquary|
The “meeting” celebrated today is the Holy Family’s encounter at the Temple with the aged prophets Anna and Simeon. These two symbolize Israel’s long yearning for the Messiah, whom they recognize in the Child. Blind Anna sees into Mary’s heart, and tells her that a sword–of great joy and of great suffering–will pierce it. In art, the sword is incorporated into the emblem of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, which is also ringed with roses and crowned with fire. The sword-pierced heart is an especially evocative symbol for me, as it is the emblem of the Immaculate Heart sisters who taught me, the logo of the parish, elementary school, high school and college I attended in Hollywood, and the seal on the class ring I once wore (and that America’s Top Model Tyra Banks still proudly flaunts as daily bling). Every woman who loves, and especially every woman who becomes a mother, opens her heart to that sword.
The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God . . .
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