Candlemas

 

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Also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In France, the tradition is to eat pancakes, in Poland to celebrate Święto Matki Boskiej Gromnicznej (the Festivity of the Holy Mother of the Thunder Candle – see here).  She’s rather a one, Our Lady of the Thunder Candle; among other blessings, she protects people from wolves.  Not much needed in East London but we know that Our Lady protects us from all kinds of harm, through her intercession, including fromt he human wolves we have here in such abundance.  It’s a trifle depressing that in the secular West, today is pretty much known as Groundhog Day – but, what the heck, there’s an uplifting moral message in the film…

 

One of the nicest parts of the Mass on the Feast of the Presentation is the Nunc Dimittis – a prayer which the Anglicans have preserved and which we have largely jettisoned. Shame really.  The song of Simeon – who had served faithfully for so long in the hope of the coming of the Messiah – it is both humble and uplifted:

 

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

 

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel. (Book of Common Prayer)

 

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Nunc Dimittis – Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

 

 

 

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