Fiat! on going with doves
In basket, and God on your arm,
Not dreaming of sword-talk or fall
And rise of the many. Dismiss
Now and forever the hope
Of any salvation unsworded.
Always there’s shadow on sunlight,
Ever surprising’s the sword
Held over happiest hour.
Thus God takes precaution on error
Of heaven confounded with earth.
Poised on each hour’s some sword.
Mother Mary Francis, PCC (The Mysteries of the Rosary, IV.
The Presentation in the Temple, p. 150, “Summon Spirit’s Cry”, Ignatius Press)
On Candlemas, the last drop of the Christmas season is savored; like the last snowflake of Winter, melting on the tongue. The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the temple is also the occasion of the ritual Purification of Our Lady, as well as the ransoming of Our Lord by St. Joseph with the price paid by the poor: a pair of turtledoves.
It is also here where we encounter St. Simeon, and hear his famous “Nunc Dimittis”, wherein he both rejoices in the coming of the Messiah and prophesies the sword of sorrow which would pierce Our Lady’s Heart on Calvary. On this feast is solemnized juxtapositions: the Fourth Joyful Mystery with the Sorrows of Our Lady; the poverty of the Holy Family displayed with their incomparable richness in possessing God Himself. The cooing Baby is identified as the Man of Sorrows.
In this event of such seeming contradictions, the compassion of Our Lord and the fullness of His Sacred Humanity is beautifully displayed. Joys, sorrows, frailty and glory are all present here. As Religious, consecrated to live Christ’s Life by loving and imitating Him with an undivided heart, it is here where we first identify ourselves with Our Beloved: in, like Him, being needy--needing Him. By our consecration to Our Lady, she takes us in her immaculate arms, as she did the Infant Christ, and presents us to the Lord. She who was all pure was purified to teach us, her daughters, the meaning of offering our lives to the Lord in a spirit of loving, humble obedience. We share with Our Divine Spouse our fears of the future and joys of past hopes coming to fulfillment; and offer Him our meager turtledoves of virtue. But in our sorrows and our poverty, the many-faceted mystery of Life with Jesus is always a joyful one: because in it we, like the Holy Family, possess Him.
A very blessed Candlemas and close of Christmastide to you all, from your Marian Sisters.