The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bearing the Flame

Today’s feast of the Presentation of the Lord, while understated, is one of my favorites during the liturgical year. Recalling Joseph and Mary’s presentation of the child Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth while pointing toward the light of the Resurrection, the Living God manifests himself to the eyes of the faithful Simeon. Likewise, Christ comes to meet his faithful people today in the temple of the heart through the Holy Spirit conferred at baptism. Welcoming him in joyful prayer, praise, and perseverance, the life of Christ radiates out to the world.

We began our celebration at Mass this morning with the blessing and lighting of candles, which we then carried as we processed through the church (one reason the feast has the name Candlemas). The Gospel read during Mass for the feast, of course, is Luke 2:22-40, which contains the Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon (Luke 2:29-31), which we chant every night at Compline (one of the reasons that office is probably my favorite):

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled:

My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

One reason this feast is special to me personally is because it was on this day (10 years ago, now!) that after a long period of prayer and discernment, I worked up the courage to tell my employers at The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, that I was seriously looking at leaving and taking up the monastic way of life (many were shocked!). It was an important step—but probably more so for me than for The Blade. On that day in 2006, commending myself to the Mother of God, I signaled in concrete form my intentions not only to my employer, but more importantly, to myself. Unless I did that, I probably wasn’t going anywhere. Though at that time I didn't know I was coming to Saint Meinrad, and still had a house, etc., seven months later I was here.

May each of us, in responding to God’s particular call for our lives, be encountered and enflamed by Christ, who is the Light of the World!

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