Two days and Candlemas

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I unknowingly start this a few days ago on the feast of Saint Brigid, one of the Patron Saints of Ireland. I am familiar with Brigid’s Crosses which are made by weaving grass into the pattern of the cross. Wanting to know a little of their history, I began digging. In that reading it was often written that the cross of grass likely predated Irelands Christianity, and its origins were in the Celtic pre-Christian gods. In tone the arguments read often presented evidence against the Brigid Cross being Christian. Not only did those articles go against the Cross, they went against the saint herself. They suggest the patron saint of Ireland is again the Christianization of an ancient Irish pagan goddess that goes by the same name. Christianity decreases and paganism is promoted, in their eyes. The Saint and feast, in pagan ritual, has its origins in a springtime festival. At least to some.

That was a couple days ago, today is the feast of the presentation of the LORD. It occurs forty days after the Nativity when Jesus is presented at the Temple in accordance with Jewish custom and law. It also is the purification of Mary, yet another tradition of Judaism. Finally, it is also known as Candlemas. Candlemas is the day when all candles to be used throughout the year are blessed. In earlier times the Church used many candles. Bees wax at one time was the valued product of the bee, its honey as a welcomed byproduct. Why Candlemas today, on this religious feast? It is because at the presentation Jesus is proclaimed as the light of the world. It is the day the proclamations of Anna and Simeon are made at the Temple. Christ, the light of the world. It is one of the great celebrations of the Church. Ironically if one were to read a new age online encyclopedia the day is almost always referenced to some other pagan seasonal feast. That feast can be Irish, or Roman, or Nordic, and almost always related to the changing of the seasons. It is not. Today is the feast of Presentation of our LORD Jesus the Christ and light of world. It also is the celebration of purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God. It is a day with its origins in sacred scripture, and it is celebrated with Candlemas. It is a day a great light is proclaimed, the light of salvation. Why the ire? First the deliberate attempts to portray the day as a hostile takeover of an earthy and folksy wicianesque tradition. It is not. Second is the attempted replacement of a scared day rich in tradition with another (actual the same) pagan celebration, Groundhog Day.

Today is a good day to voice anger against the promotion of paganism. It is a good day to be reminded of words such as heresy, and blasphemy, and apostasy, and sacrilegious. In using that voice to proclaim the great light that is Jesus Christ gives reminder of the voice of the person. Along with light, voice enters into the liturgy. The Christian Voice. Words and sounds. The day after Candlemas comes the feast of Saint Blase , and it is the day of the blessing of throats with today’s candles. At the presentation Jesus is proclaimed light of the world, and to proclaim often means to use your blessed throat.. .

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