02 February, 2010

Light and Hope [on the feast of Candlemass]

I am a Marian devotee, give or take the jokes that some have been thrown my way about being gay and collecting images of Virgins… But I am one to laugh it off like the last one. It’s not their money anyway. Hahahahaha!!!

But seriously, February 2nd is the traditional date for the Feast of the Presentation of the Christ Child at the Temple in Jerusalem. If you recall that lyric from a popular Christmas carol, “Two turtledoves and a partridge…” this is that biblical event to which the lyrics refer to when Joseph and Mary brought the newborn baby Jesus to the temple mount to be dedicated to the God of Israel. There was an old man named Simeon who had been promised that he shall see the Messiah in his lifetime. And when Simeon held that child in his arms, he knew that the he held the hope of the world.

(a miracle in stone, this statue of the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, newly-restored under the hand of Tom Joven, has attracted the faithful for her miracle of healing. local legend and lore has it that the statue has grown; as she had been taken from her niche for her canonical coronation -done by the Pope John Paul II himself- for more than two decades now; and if they would return her, she would not fit anymore.)

In the Marian tradition of devotions, this same day celebrates the Feast of Mary as Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria [Our Lady of the Candles] and the miracle of healing she bestows upon her devotees. And personally, I can claim that I am living proof of that miracle. It pains me that I may never be at Jaro Cathedral today, where the canonically crowned image of Our Lady of Candelaria resides. I would have wanted to see her newly restored visage and see for myself the sea of devotees coming to celebrate her. But Our Lady understands…

Thus I shall be lighting candles from our shrine at home.

A single flame, flickering on a candle’s wick, best represents hope in the Roman Catholic Symbolic tradition. Simeon’s Canticle best speaks of this hope. The world seems like it is no better than before when you tune in to CNN, but I believe that things will always turn out. So I leave you with Hangad’s musical rendition of Simeon’s Canticle.

Photo courtesy of mic_cal from Flickr.

Thus spake the Barefoot Baklesa

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