Candlemas (A Few Words for Wednesday)

Candlemas (A Few Words for Wednesday) February 2, 2011

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. On this day, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple, in accordance with Mosaic Law. Our Lord was blessed by Simeon, as witnessed by the prophetess Anna as set forth in the Gospel of Luke.

Blessed John Henry Newman wrote a poem commemorating the blessing of the candles, which is also done on this day in the Latin Rite.


by John Henry Newman

The Angel-lights of Christmas morn,
Which shot across the sky,
Away they pass at Candlemas,
They sparkle and they die.

Comfort of earth is brief at best,
Although it be divine;
Like funeral lights for Christmas gone
Old Simeon’s tapers shine.

And then for eight long weeks and more,
We wait in twilight grey,
Till the high candle sheds a beam
On Holy Saturday.

We wait along the penance-tide

Of solemn fast and prayer;
While song is hush’d, and lights grow dim
In the sin-laden air.

And while the sword in Mary’s soul
Is driven home, we hide
In our own hearts, and count the wounds
Of passion and of pride.

And still, though Candlemas be spent
And Alleluias o’er,
Mary is music in our need,
And Jesus light in store.

The Oratory. 1849

The Anchoress on this Feast

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