Candlemas (Presentation of the Lord)

“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,”and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel,and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted(and you yourself a sword will pierce)so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” Luke 2:22-38

Image by Collinson (1878) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, formally known as “Candlemas.” In many cultures, the Presentation the Lord used to be the official ending of Christmas; therefore, one of the traditions for this feast is to light lots of candles and decorate with greenery.

For some lovely explanations and  meditations on this feast, here are some websites to check out:

Fisheaters

Churchyear.net

New Advent

celebrating candlemas

catholicculture.org

americancatholic.org

about.com

Today’s feast is also a good lead in for this month’s devotion: The Holy Family. It is good for us, as Catholics, to imitate our families after the Holy family. It is good for us to pray to the Holy Family, asking them to bless our family and help us in our needs. You can go here for some prayers to the Holy Family to get you started.

Saint Andrew and the Christmas Novena

Today is the feast of Saint Andrew, a wonderful and powerful saint. He was a great Apostle and missionary of the Lord. He is mentioned several times in the gospel. In fact, he brought Saint Peter to Jesus. I love that Saint Andrew told Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) after only one encounter! Of course there were ups and downs in his relationship with the Lord, but after the Resurrection and St. Andrew receives the Holy Spirit he becomes a mighty instrument for the Lord!

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Saint Andrew died a martyr on a cross that was in the shape of an X. He was not nailed, but bound, to the cross and suffered for two days before finally passing to the Lord. Saint Andrew is the patron of fisherman and the countries of Russia, Scotland, and Greece. He also has the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena named after him.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

The Saint Andrew Christmas novena starts today, November 30, and continues until Christmas day. The prayer is very short and simple. All you have to do is say the following prayer 15 times a day, every day from now until Christmas. (I promise you, it only takes a few minutes.)

“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of his Blessed Mother. Amen.”

By the way, you don’t have to say the prayer 15 times all at once. Some years I do, but some years, I break it up and say the prayer five times in a row, three times a day. I just added it to my prayers before meals. Some years, I break it up and say the prayer two times a day (7 times and then 8 times). Also, don’t be scrupulous if you miss a day or two, I’ve done that, too!

You can get a printable version of the prayer here. No opt-in required.

Resources

Here are some links to peruse and get to know Saint Andrew better.

AmericanCatholic.org

New Advent

Catholic.org

SaintAndrew.us

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Tweetable: Saint Andrew and the Christmas Novena

Saint Henry, Pray for Us!

Today is the optional memorial of Saint Henry. As far as I can tell, Saint Henry isn’t a particularly well-known or popular saint. So why write about him? Because, in some ways, he is just like us.

Saint Henry, Pray for Us!

Image by Foxy_ (2012) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Granted, unlike most of us, Saint Henry was born into royalty. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995  and after the death of a cousin he was appointed the emperor of Germany. He was well educated and pious and when he married, he and his wife made a vow of chastity.

Still, Saint Henry lived out his vocation in the secular world. He was generous, had a strong sense of justice and a great love for the Church. At one point in his life, he became ill and had a crippled leg but bore his sufferings with great forbearance.

He also had his faults. In particular, he was a little too quick to jump into battle especially by today’s standards. He fought against those who went against his empire and he fought against those who caused trouble in Rome.

However, AmericanCatholic.org points out, “All in all, this saint was a man of his times. From our standpoint, he may have been too quick to do battle and too ready to use power to accomplish reforms. But, granted such limitations, he shows that holiness is possible in a busy secular life. It is in doing our job that we become saints.

This is why I am pointing him out to you. He lived a busy life, he fulfilled his duties with care, and  he still managed to live a faithful life with his eyes on Christ. He shows that we can do the same thing. No matter what is going on, we can still grow in holiness right where God has put us. We can still make time for prayer because, as Saint Henry shows us, we make time for those things that are important to us!

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Tweetable: Saint Henry, Pray for Us!

Resources: American Catholic, Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online

Marriage Prayer

Catholic Prayer for Marriages

I can’t believe that as of today (Thursday) Michael and I have been married ten years. The time has just flown by! There have been a lot of ups and downs over the past ten years but I have always been thankful that God has put him in my life and called us to marriage.  From the moment I saw him I knew he was “the one” and I still know it. 🙂

In honor of our anniversary, I want to share this beautiful prayer that I found online (here and here).

“We thank you, O God, for the Love You have implanted in our hearts. May it always inspire us to be kind in our words, considerate of feeling, and concerned for each other’s needs and wishes. Help us to be understanding and forgiving of human weaknesses and failings. Increase our faith and trust in You and may Your Prudence guide our life and love. Bless our Marriage O God, with Peace and Happiness, and make our love fruitful for Your glory and our Joy both here and in eternity.” — Traditional Catholic prayer, author unknown

I pray  not only for our marriage but for yours, too. May your marriage be strong and blessed in every way!

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P.S. I could not mention that today is also the feast of the Queenship of Mary. it is a beautiful feast day and to help you understand the meaning behind this feast I offer the following resources:

CatholicTradition.org

domestic-church.com

americancatholic.org

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(Image Credit)