Thursday, February 04, 2010

Candlemas and St Blaise

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This Christmas season ended with Candlemas (Feb 2nd), and as usual we had a Sung Mass with blessing of candles and procession at SS Gregory & Augustine. The crib was still up.

Fr John Saward preached on the humility shown by the Blessed Virgin Mary in submitting to the Law of Moses.

I love the pictures of the Purification which show Our Lady going up to the priest in a procession with candles - the liturgy commemorating a Gospel event influencing the way the event itself is depicted. This phenomenon is used by Eamonn Duffy, in the Stripping of the Altars, to demonstrate how deeply the Medieval liturgy had penetrated the consciousness of the people before the Reformation.

The following day (Feb 3rd) was the feast (or at least the Commemoration) of St Blaise, and at end of the regular Wednesday evening Mass there was the blessing of throats - always useful at this time of the year!
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Two remarkable customs, and associated sacramentals, on successive days. One of the traditional uses of the candles blessed on Candlemas is to burn them during childbirth - this we have always done. I doubt the NHS would take kindly to patients lighting candles but happily all our children were born at home.

More photos here.

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