I just celebrated the majestic and beautiful Feast of the Presentation Of the Lord, marking 49 days after Christmas and the fulfillment of the Law requiring that the first born males be "presented" to the Lord. Mary and Joseph entered the Temple, carrying the baby Jesus in their arms. Two elders of prayer and fasting, Simeon and Anna, immediatly recongnized the identity of this long awaited child, the One who would be a "Light" to all the nations.
This Feast begs for processions with candles, blessing candles, celebrating the symbolism of candles in the Church and in our homes, which are supposed to be domestic churches. The tradtional name for this Feast is Candlemass, the Mass of the blessing of candles and procession of candles ablaze with the light Guido g us on our pilgrimage in life, This ligths is Christ, who shines in our hearts, enlighting those dask hidden places of the wound and sin, if we allow this to happen.
I so dream of being a part of a community that treasures religious traditions and incorporates them in the home. A community that sees the beauty of religion in art, literature and music, and yearns to have these realities shape our liturgy and life as a community of faith. It would be so wonderful and powerful to have many people come together on Feasts and Holydays, strengthening our culture as Catholics. The most beautiful memory my parents gave me was raising me in a home in which Mass, love of Mary, seasonal Confession, symbols around the house speaking our faith, cooking and baking reflecting faith, and open conversations about our religion were a consistent part of family life. Integration of faith and everyday life has become segregation. My hope is that a deeper integration of our Catholic faith and traditions will take root.
Peace. Fr Frank