Monday, January 29, 2007

The Loveliness of Candlemas Fair

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 the people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:30-32)

The fourth joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary, The Presentation in the Temple, is rich in symbolic meaning and offers much to contemplate. The feast of Candlemas celebrated on February 2nd in honor of this mystery has many facets to reflect that meaning. This fair will focus on three: Time, Light, and Purification by Trial.

...for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.

Here, in the heart of this beautiful mystery, the Old and the New Testaments meet. In the forty days since Jesus' birth, He has remained in the abode of the Holy Family. The presentation is His very first public appearance. The proclamations of Simeon and Anna are, therefore, the first heraldings of the arrival of our salvation. It is no coincidence that this feast falls on a cross quarter day, half way between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox--a time when we look for the first heraldings of spring.

Katherine's meaningful reflection on the Icon of The Presentation makes several connections between Candlemas and the theme of time-- the old and the new.

The beautiful flowers pictured above are called Candlemas Bells, so named because they bloom around Candlemas and are among the very earliest signs of spring. Read more over at the Catholic gardener's dream web site, Mary's Gardens.

In her list of 21 various things she would like to do in order to celebrate Candlemas, Dawn has some wonderful ideas for learning more about these flowers and other winter/spring nature studies and crafts.

Kristen reflects on four virtues exemplified by Mary in this mystery, one of which is patience, considering the time of Mary's wait before her purification.

To read more about weather lore--signs of the times-- associated with Candlemas and to see a cute picture of a groundhog and a candle go here.

A light to lighten the Gentiles and a glory to thy people Israel.

This is the first mention in the Gospels that the Gentiles are a part of God's plan for salvation. Guiding both the Gentiles and the people of Israel, Christ is truly the light of the world. This is worthy of reflection as daylight begins to increase. On Candlemas, the Church blesses all Her candles and, for use in the darkness of winter that remains, the faithful have traditionally had candles blessed for their homes.

Elizabeth sheds light on this subject and offers some beautiful ideas for using candles in our Domestic Churches throughout the liturgical year.

Mary also shares some wonderful ideas for celebrating Candlemas with candles. Did you know that this feast day is called "Blessed Mother of the Candles" in Poland?

Matilda has posted the loveliest craft using paper to create a picture lantern around a candle in honor of this day. Truly, truly beautiful.

And Jen has some interesting links about beeswax candles.

Here are some simple instructions for making beeswax candles.

Purification By Trial
A sword shall pierce through thine own soul also.

The Virgin Mother had no need to undergo the ritual of purification in the Temple, but there the prophet Simeon announced another sort of purification that she would undergo at the foot of the cross.

Alice shares some insight into the trials and tribulations of motherhood. Be sure to read the comments on this one. They are as interesting as the post.

Karen contributes with a beautiful post about her purification "bit by bit, tear by tear, and sorrow by sorrow."

I posted on this topic just below. (please scroll down)

And our own dear Margaret, whose wound is still so fresh, captures so well the bittersweet nature of this feast.

It has been a pleasure hosting this fair. I hope you have found something here worth your while.

God Bless you all and may you have a very blessed Candlemas Day!

Your Fair Hostess,

Now Taking Late Comers:
Marjorie: La Chandeleur
Alice: Tea, Turtledoves, and Treading Water
Barbara in nova does not have a blog, but recommends Michael Card's song, "Now That I've Held Him in my Arms."
* * *


Kristen Laurence said...

Suzanne, what a beautiful job you did on this fair--truly lovely! Each post is informative and inspiring. Now, I'm off to the nursery tomorrow to see if I can't find some of those beautiful Candlemas bells!

Dawn said...

Thank you so much, Suzanne! Your Fair is lovely!

Margaret in Minnesota said...

Sweet Suzanne, you are the epitome of prompt! What a treat to wander downstairs for my morning coffee and have this lovely fair just waiting.

And it is indeed lovely, as these fairs always are. You did a wonderful job with the many diverse themes presented, Suzanne, as did all of these ladies.

And to the first-time participants, a hearty welcome! :)

The coffee's done.

I'm off to read.

Matilda said...

I got up extra early today as part of a new housekeeping strategy and now that my chores are done I have this to look forward to. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Elena said...

Thank you Suzanne. I am up! and posted!

Elizabeth said...

fabulous ideas, beautifully drawn together!

pls excuse typing -- poorly dd on lap...

scmom said...

What a lovely blog you have. I'm not sure how I got here (link to link to link I think) but I'm glad I did and I'll be back.

Jennifer said...

This was put together beautifully. I'm so glad I have a few more days to implement some of these ideas.

J.C. said...

Looks great!

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...


As always, you did a beautiful job!

Jane Ramsey said...

Many thanks to our fair hostess (in more ways than one)!
You did an awesome job!

neuropoet3 said...

Okay, I'm almost entirely too late - but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted to post. However, I found something almost as good as what I was looking for. I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing either :) - but I did want to share this with everyone!

Gabrielle said...

Wonderful job, Suzanne. I'm looking forward to reading all the entries for this feast, even though I will be late in doing so. Simply beautiful; thank you for your hard work and the love you put into this.

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