Saturday, 10 January 2015

Candlemas & the New Evangelisation



To rediscover our Catholic identity and culture we often have to look to other strong Catholic countries that have never lost the Catholic Faith. In Poland, the candles brought from home to be blessed are decorated with symbols and ribbons. 

This tradition gives Candlemas its Polish name "Matka Boska Gromniczna," 
or "Mother of God of the Blessed Thunder Candle."

There, the custom is to let a blessed candle burn all night before an icon of Our Lady who, when the world still had forests, was relied upon to keep the wolves away during these cold nights. Now, our "wolves" tend to be of a different sort, but the pious burning of a blessed candle tonight, with powerful prayers offered to Our Lady, still help keep the world at bay.


The mystery of today's ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to Ivo of Chartres, the wax, which is formed from flowers by the bee was always been considered as the emblem of virginity, and signifies the pure nature of the body of the Divine Infant, who is diminished not, either by His conception or His birth, and was born through the spotless purity of His Blessed Mother. The same holy bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, asks us to consider three things in the blessed Candle: the wax, the wick, and the flame. The wax, he says, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, is His Soul within; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity.

From: Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB The Liturgical Year

With a return to Catholic tradition in this country, especially in the home, many more will be lighting blessed candles on Candlemas and many other nights as well.

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