The Feast of Candlemas, which derives its origin from the local observance of Jerusalem, marks the end of the Feasts included in the Christmas cycle of the liturgy. It is perhaps the most ancient festival of Our Lady. It commemorate, however, not only the obedience of the Blessed Virgin to the Mosaic Law in going to Jerusalem forty days after the birth of her Child and making the accustomed offerings, but also the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, and the meeting of the Infant Jesus with the old man Simeon - the Occursus Domini, as the Feast was anciently termed. This is the principal theme of the liturgy on this day: Jesus is taken to the Temple "to present Him to the Lord." So the Lord come to His Temple, and is met by the aged Simeon with joy and recognition.
The blessing and distribution of candles, to be carried lighted in procession, preceded the Mass today - a symbolic presentation of the truth proclaimed in the Canticle of Simeon: Our Lord is the "Light for the revelation of the Gentiles."The anthems sung during this procession, eastern in origin, well express the joy and gladness of this happy festival, and the honor and praise we give to our Blessed Lady and her Divine Son by this devout observance.
Oremus /Let us pray :
O Almighty and Everlasting God, we humbly beseech Thy majesty; that as Thine only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so too Thou wouldst grant us to be presented unto Thee with purified souls. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God , forever and ever. Amen
Prayer to Holy Virgin Mary on the Feast of the Purification
( composed by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori )
O Holy Mother of God, and my Mother Mary, thou wast so deeply interested in my salvation as to offer to death the dearest object of thy heart, thy beloved Jesus! Since, then, thou didst so much desire to see me saved, it is right that, after God, I should place all my hopes in thee. O yes, most Blessed Virgin, I do indeed entirely confide in thee.
Ah, by the merit of the great sacrifice which thou didst offer this day to God, the sacrifice of the life of thy Son, entreat Him to have pity on my poor soul, for which this Immaculate Lamb did not refuse to die on the cross. I could desire, O my Queen, to offer my poor heart to God on this day, in imitation of Thee; but I fear that, seeing it so sordid and loathsome, He may refuse it. But if thou offerest it to Him, He will not reject it. He is always pleased with and accepts the offerings presented to Him by your most pure hands.
To thee, then, O Mary, do I this day present myself, miserable as I am; to thee do I give myself without reserve. Do thou offer me as thy servant, together with Jesus to the Eternal Father; and beseech Him, by the merits of thy Son and for thy sake, to accept me and take me as His own.
Ah, my sweetest Mother, for the love of thy sacrificed Son, help me always and at all times, and abandon me not. Never permit me to lose by my sins this most amiable Redeemer, Whom on this day thou didst offer with so bitter grief to the cruel death of the cross. Remind him that I am thy servant, that thou willest my salvation, and He will certainly graciously hear thee. Amen