"On this day, the Virgin-Mother brings the Lord of the Temple into the Temple of the Lord; Joseph presents to the Lord a Son, who is not his own, but the Beloved Son of that Lord himself, and in whom he is well pleased; Simeon, the just man, confesses Him for whom he had been so long waiting; Anna, too, the widow, confesses him. The Procession of this solemnity was first made by these four, which, afterwards, was to be made, to the joy of the whole earth, in every place and by every nation. Let us not be surprised at its then being so little; for He they carried was Little! Besides, all who were in it were just, and Saints, and perfect - there was not a single sinner" First Sermon On the Purification.
The Sisters kneeling to receive their candles
And yet, let us join the holy procession. Let us go to meet Jesus, the Spouse of our souls, as did the Wise Virgins, carrying in our hands lamps burning with the flame of charity. Let us remember the command given us by our Lord: Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands: and you yourselves like to men who wait for their Lord [St. Luke, xii. 35,36]. Guided by faith, and enlightened by charity, we shall meet and know him, and he will give himself to us. The holy Church opens her chants of this Procession with the following Antiphon, which is found, word for word, in the Greek Liturgy of this same Feast.
~ Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year
The Mass of the Purification