In gratitude for the gift of consecrated life on this Feast day of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, detail, by Fra Angelico

Over the week-end, some of us spent a time of silence and prayer at the Anglican Sisterhood of St John the Divine in the North of Toronto. We give thanks for this time of spiritual revitalization, especially through the liturgy. On Sunday, we celebrated “Candlemas” marking the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and Jesus being received by Simeon who recognised him as “the light of all nations”. On this day, we also celebrate the gift of consecrated life in the Catholic Church.

We were moved by the ritual at the end of mass as we were holding candles around the baptismal font and remembered our baptism. The prayer we said when extinguishing our tapers brought to a close the Christmas season and turned our hearts already towards the celebration of the Lord’s Passion and Easter.

“God our creator, here we bring to an end our celebration of the Savior’s birth.
Help us, in whom he has been born, to live his life that has no end.
Here we have offered the Church’s sacrifice of praise.
Help us, who have received the bread of life, to be thankful for your gift.
Here we have rejoiced with faithful Simeon and Anna.
Help us, who have found the Lord in his temple, to trust in your eternal promises.
Here we have greeted the Light of the world.
Help us, who now extinguish these candles, never to forsake the light of Christ.

All extinguish their tapers.

Here we now stand near the place of baptism.
Help us, who are marked with the cross, to share the Lord’s death and resurrection.
Here we turn from Christ’s birth to his passion.
Help us, for whom Lent is near, to enter deeply into the Easter mystery.
Here we bless one another in your name.
Help us, who now go in peace, to shine with your light in the world. Thanks be to God! Amen

(Source: The Promise of His Glory, Church of England, 1991)

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