Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
This upcoming Friday we celebrate First Friday, but also the formal conclusion of the Christmas Season. For on the 40th day after the birth of Christ, the Blessed Virgin presented herself in the temple for purification under the law, and presented her first born son to the Lord in the temple.
In the midst of this act of humility on the part of the Blessed Virgin and the Christ child, for neither was in need of purification or presentation to the Lord, the prophet Simeon declared that the child would be a light of revelation to the gentiles. And so Christ was, having sent His apostles to all the corners of the world to bring the light and warmth of the Faith well beyond the borders of Israel. On this day we thus bless candles.
It is hard for us to imagine a world in which candles are an essential item for living. Lighted candles disperse the darkness, and God provided bees to man to make such an instrument. In Catholic spirituality, the honey bee symbolizes Our Lady, who like the honey bee, produced the Light of the World while retaining her virginity. The wax symbolizes the body of the Lord, the wick His soul, and the flame His divinity.
Christ was born to be a light in a world twisted and distorted by sin. When we are baptized, we are given a share in the light of Christ. It is for this reason that we are given a candle at our baptism. We are instructed to keep that light burning bright through a blameless life.
With Christ, we are able to provide supernatural light to the world. Like the Apostles, we are called to proclaim the Gospel at all times, so that all may continue to come to know and appreciate God. So as we bless candles this upcoming week, may we do well to take heed. Remembering that candles are symbolic of Christ, but also symbolic of what our role is to be in the world. Spreading the light and warmth of the Faith.
Also, this coming Saturday is the Feast of St. Blaise. Following all Masses on Saturday & Sunday we will have the traditional blessing of throats. It is said that a child was choking on a fish bone, and was brought to St. Blaise. He blessed the child’s throat with candles, and it is said that the bone was dislodged, thus saving the child. The Church has thus traditionally called upon the ministers of the Church to bless the throats of the faithful on the Feast of St. Blaise, hoping to ward off all ailments of the throat. Please be sure to pray for this grace through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr.
Lastly, the great Lenten Fast quickly approaches. Please be thinking about your Lenten fasts and penances! Ash Wednesday should not catch you by surprise! Have a blessed week ahead!