Flashback to Christmas
Forty days after the birth of Our Lord, his parents bring him into the temple in Jerusalem. As devout Jews, Mary and Joseph are but fulfilling the Law. Unexpectedly they come upon Simeon, another devout man, who with joy gazes upon the long desired Messiah. But alas! Simeon also foresees that this little baby will one day be a cause of great sorrow to his mother: and a sword shall pierce your soul. Joy and sorrow mingle together in this fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: it is no small thing to be the Mother of the Word-made-flesh!
At the Office of Readings for February 2nd the Church tells us: “The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.” Hence the custom of carrying lighted candles at the beginning of Mass on this feast day of “Candlemas”.
I am always struck when walking through the cloister after Compline (the last prayer of our day) to see how the light diffuses itself everywhere. The main electric lights are off for the night and the darkness descends. But a tiny night light, a vigil burning by a statue, moonlight seeping in through the windows lining the cloister—all defy the darkness. It is not the glaring light of noonday, but still the rays go in every direction, a sign of hope.
Much darkness has descended upon our world, and sad to say upon the Church. But the Light shines on. In a small way we seek to radiate this Light—the light of Jesus Christ—through our monastic observances and life of prayer.