Presentation of the Lord
2 February 2018
Today, 2nd February, when we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life, I think of each one of you with gratitude and present you to the Lord. On this occasion I wish to share my reflection on today's Word of God. The Church in the richness of her Liturgy invites us to see the beauty of religious consecration and its many aspects.
The Presentation of the Lord reminds us that, Mary and Joseph, forty days after the birth of Jesus, brought Him to the temple in Jerusalem, and offered according to the law, the sacrifice for purification. Is this also not an image of our consecrated life, in which completely and freely we dedicate ourselves to God, to become His unique possession and as Jesus, to be only in this, what belongs to the Father?
The event of the presentation in the temple described by St. Luke in the Gospel indicates a significant scene of Encounter. Two elderly, Simenon and Anna, the prophetess, encounter the Infant Jesus. This encounter brings us into the area of both the old and new covenant, of light and darkness, a joy of salvation and announcement of the cross. This is also a sign/indication to live our religious life as yearning for and an awaiting for Christ, as well as a sign of passing through the darkness of the "old" person to the light of God's child. This is a call to be a solid/strong witness of hope, believing that the "old has gone and the new is here". (2 Cor 5:17).
The Presentation of the Lord is also known as a feast of Candlemas, 'Feast of Lights'. During the liturgy, candles are blessed and carried by the faithful in procession in honor of Christ - the Light. (cf. Luke 2:32). This sign, specific to the liturgical tradition of this feast, shows the beauty and value of the consecrated life as a reflection on Christ, the Light. The Virgin Mary, the Consecrated Woman par excellence, carried in her arms the Light himself, the Incarnate Word who came to dispel the darkness of the world with God’s love. Our vocation is "despite its renunciations and trials, and indeed because of them, a path ‘of light’ over which the Redeemer keeps constant watch. Awake, and have no fear". (cf. VC 40).
With joyful Magnificat and best wishes,
Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC