The Feast of Light

The Feast of February 2, which has been given its ancient name, the Presentation of the Lord, should also be considered as a joint commemoration of the Son and of the Mother. This celebration of Jesus and Mary goes back to the fifth century in Jerusalem. It was placed on the 40th day after Christmas to bring to mind the mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ. Mary is intimately associated to this mystery as the Mother of the Suffering Servant, as the one who performs a mission belonging to ancient Israel, and as the model for the new People of God, which is ever being tested in its faith and hope by suffering and persecution.[1]

In the Gospel of St. Luke (2:22-35), we read: The Presentation in the Temple.

… when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law [Simeon] took [the child] 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, a 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.”

Referring to this prophesy, Schoenstatt’s founder, Father Joseph Kentenich pointed out:

Mary, as the adversary of the devil, knows even better than the Prince of Darkness the priceless value of the human soul. The ransom for that was the precious blood of her Son and the sword in her heart. In every circumstance of our lives she stays by our side. She does so when we are tempted to sin. She does so when dark thunderclouds gather on the horizons of our times. She does so when she needs instruments in order to lead the Church to victory in the battle against hell. She does so when we are in financial need or having problems with our health. Above all, she does so when we are on our deathbed and must appear before the eternal Judge. …Throughout all eternity we will then praise the mercies of our dear Mother which she has shown to us in a special way since making the covenant of love with her and adopting it as our personal and common way of life.[2]

On February 2, we will celebrate the feast of the Presentation. This feast is also called Candlemas, because candles are blessed for home and church use. Christ is the light of the world and Mary is the Queen of Light.

The Mother of God is surrounded by the sun. Who is the sun? Christ, the great King of Light. Whoever exposes himself uniquely to the light must himself become light. If our Lord is the Light itself, we are justified in calling the Mother of God a bearer of the light, or a Queen of Light.

She wants to radiate all that the infinite God has given her. She is a child of the Sun, a pre-eminent person of the Sun, because she bears Christ, because Christ has embodied his entire greatness in her in human and feminine form.

We, too, must become people of the Sun. We bear the Sun within us. The Sun is Christ…It should be our ideal to march through this present-day world as people of the Sun.[3]

The following text is taken from 200 Question About Schoenstatt.

In Schoenstatt, Candlemas has a special meaning. The “Candlemas vision” refers to an inner certitude which FatherKentenich received two weeks after January 20, 1942. The conviction grew within him that God would grant him his freedom and ensure a richly blessed future for his movement because he had freely decided to go to the concentration camp. The day this happened was February 2, 1942, known traditionally as the feast of “Candlemas” (Presentation of the Lord), hence the title “Candlemas vision.”

The term “vision” does not refer to any kind of apparition or other unusual phenomenon, but to a conviction inspired by grace. Because the resulting conviction included the fact that Schoenstatt would survive to thrive and be a blessing for the Church, the term “Candlemas vision” also came into use to describe the prayer that the pope and bishops also would come to this same conviction about Schoenstatt as a genuine work of God and as a source of ongoing blessing for the Church.[4]

Father Kentenich formulated a prayer expressing his confidence in God’s power:

The fetters have fallen! Let a hymn of thanksgiving resound from everyone in Schoenstatt’s holy halls.

On our arduous pilgrimage God has shown his greatness and wisdom to us, to his greater honour and glory.

The misfortunes Satan’s power and tricks had planned for us, were changed by the Father’s gaze to our greatest happiness.

What was too earthly in our thinking, too human in our giving, God wanted to lead upwards, and immerse completely in himself.

So today we stand united, forged by God’s love, and battle unremittingly against all Satan’s offspring,

So that new people may come into existence, who are free and strong on this earth, and who in joy and difficulties bear themselves like Christ.

They interweave the striving of their hearts with him alone, as his Mother and Bride did while she lived on this earth. ...[5]

On today’s feast, we place our intentions into the hands of our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt, and pray that ourLord may show us his light of hope and peace.

With the many challenges that will come this new year, we turn with childlike trust in Divine Providence to our MTA and ask for her intercession. We pray for all those directly and indirectly affected by the Coronavirus, for priests to stay healthy and that churches can continue to stay open.We also join in praying for all Catholics to return to Church and again receive the sacraments. We pray for those who are prideful and don’t realize how much they need a Savior. May our lives give witness to the light of Christ and spark in their lives the fire of Christ’s love. May all our contributions to the capital of grace give proof of Mary’s action in our present time.

[1] Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI, February 2, 1974.

[2] J. Kentenich, Mary Mother and Educator, 117.

[3] J. Kentenich, Sign of Light for the World, 9-10.

[4] J. Niehaus, 200 Questions about Schoenstatt, #182.

[5] J. Kentenich, Heavenwards, Hymn of Thanksgiving, prose version, as found in J. Niehaus, Candlemas 1942.