Psalm 83/84

How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of host!

My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever.

Blessed is the man whose help is from thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps, In the vale of tears, in the place which be hath set.For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.

For better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.  For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory.  He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

(In his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps: Ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. As by steps men ascended to the temple of God situated on a hill; so the good Christian ascends towards the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart: and this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin.)

 

The Blizzard

La Maison Blanche

It’s no secret that I was in DC for the memorable blizzard immediately following the March for Life.

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I made the most of it… It was beautiful.

I entered captions on all of the photos, and then they were all not saved when I updated the slider… always back to the drawing board around here.

Candlemas

A Candle

Yesterday, February 2, was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, depending on which Calendar one uses. Either way, it was also know as Candlemas. The reading from the Gospels recounts the prophetic uttering of Simeon, who proclaims that Jesus Christ will be a light unto the nations, a light to the gentiles.

As the Rev. Fr. Leonard Goofine explains in The Church’s Year:

What is this festival?
This the festival on which the Church venerates the humility and obedience of Mary who, though not subject to the law of Moses, which required purification and presentation in the temple, yet subjected herself to it. From this comes the name Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. It is also called Candlemas, because before Mass on this day the candles used in divine service are blessed and carried in procession.

Why are the candles blessed on this day and carried in procession?
In remembrance of the presentation of Jesus to His Heavenly Father on this day, when the aged Simeon called Him: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of the people of Israel, (Luke II. 32.) and to remind us that, like the five wise virgins, we should go to meet Christ with the light of faith and good works.

With what intention are candles blessed?
With the intention of obtaining from God by their pious use and the prayers of those who devoutly carry them, health of body and soul; that our hearts, through the doctrine of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Ghost, may be interiorly enlightened; and that the fire of the love of God may be kindled in our hearts, purify them from all remains of sin, and make us partakers in the joyous light of heaven, which will never be extinguished.

Also, the website Romanitus Press has a handy liturgical guide of their preparations for the Blessing of Candles, Procession, and a Low Mass.

Surprisingly, things went fairly well. I only found myself wondering why we’ve never done this at the Ordinary Form Mass, which also celebrates Candlemas on that day, with a fairly elaborate rite in the Missal.

In the Extraordinary Form Mass, we processed in from the side, said the prayers of blessing at the Epistle Side, with the sprinkling and incensations. The candles were then distributed at the Communion Rail, then the next oration was prayed.

Then we started the procession, which was led by the servers, then the Priest (yours truly,) followed by the congregation. We fell apart a bit here, as the servers did not take the thurible and cross or candles with them. With only three servers, I’m not exactly certain who should have taken what, if anything. Then the Priest, who shall remain nameless of course, got very far ahead of everyone else in the crowd, so that the servers and Priest stopped at the back of the Church before processing up the main aisle to start the Mass.

During the Mass, the servers brought the Priest a lit candle to hold during the Gospel; the congregation lit their candles during the Gospel, then during the Sanctus until the end of the Canon.

With another Mass at 8am, preceded by a Rosary at 7:30am, I was worried about the time. But we were finished by 7:20am, and everything worked out well.

Lessons learned:

  1. Plan ahead.
  2. Wear the biretta during the procession.
  3. Research the procession guidelines, even if it’s just a simple procession in the Church.
  4. Plan similarly for the Ordinary Form Mass.

Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word, in peace: Because my eyes have seen thy salvation: which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Blessings. +