02 February, 2009

Celebrating Candlemass with Gratitude

Simeon's Canticle featuring Celia Uy from the album HANGAD

Our Lady of the Candles [Nuestra Senora de Candelaria], miraculous image from the cathedral of Jaro, Ilo-Ilo City, Philippines

Today, the 2nd of February, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Candlemass -represented by Our Lady of the Candles [Nuestra Senora de Candelaria]- and "The Presentation of the Child Jesus". For me, this is the official end of the Christmas season [i got that from the mexicans and actually, it's also an excuse to keep my christmas decorations and displays mounted for an extra month].

As a child, I learned about an old man named Simeon who was told by God that he would see the chosen one, the Messiah, in his lifetime. Years would pass, and Simeon faithfully waited for that child to be brought to the Great Temple at Jerusalem. Then a couple arrives bearing their first-born to presented to God with nothing but two turtle doves as offerings[thus the famous two turtledoves in that ubiquitous christmas carol]. And upon seeing this boy, he utters:

Luke 2:29-32

29 Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord, According to thy word, in peace;

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples;

32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.

It's late in the afternoon here where I'm composing this blog; and in places where the Lady of the Candles is venerated, the celebrations have begun as early as 4:00 o'clock in the morning. This year, i am unable to come to Jaro Cathedral where I keep constant pilgrimage. But it's not a matter of being there physically, but more of a matter of faith.

But I'm going to add to that faith, an amount of gratitude. Gratitude for the fierce friends that have stood by me, for the life i am living, for the love i am receiving, for the family i am given, and for the many things that have been bestowed upon me and those which i shall look forward to receiving. I have no complaints, not everyone has the life I'm living.

So here's to you, Catholic, Christian, Buddhist -whatever your denomination is or even if you have none at all, I wish upon thee the blessings of this day. And may you find the opportunity to share it.

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