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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Presentation of Christ in the Temple, Feb. 2

Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or Candlemas, Feb 2.

A Homily by St. Ambrose the Bishop
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon ; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The birth of the Lord is attested not only by Angels, Prophets and shepherds, but also by elders and just men. Every age, and both sexes, as well as the wonders of the events themselves, are here present to strengthen our faith. A virgin conceiveth, a barren woman beareth, a dumb man speaketh, Elisabeth prophesieth, the wise man worshippeth, the unborn child leapeth, the widow praiseth, and the just man waiteth.
Well is he called just, who looked not for favour for himself but for consolation for his people. He desired to be set free from the bondage of this frail body, but he waited to see the Promised One ; for he knew that blest are the eyes that see him. Then took he him up in his arms, and blest God, and said : Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. Behold a just man, confined in the weary prison of his body, desiring to depart, and to begin to be with Christ! For it is far better to depart and to be with Christ.
Whosoever will depart and be with Christ, let him come into the temple. Yea, let him come, as to Jerusalem, and wait for the Lord’s Christ. Let him take hold on the Word of God, let him embrace the same with good works, as it were with arms of faith. Then let him depart in peace, for he who hath seen Life, shall not see death. Behold how the Lord’s birth doth overflow with abounding grace for all, and prophecy was not denied except to the unbelieving. Behold, Simeon prophesieth that the Lord Jesus Christ is come for the fall and rising again of many. Yea, he shall separate the just from the unjust by their deserts. And according as our work shall be, so shall the true and righteous Judge command us to be punished or rewarded.
Antiphon on the Benedictus:
And when his parents brought in the Child Jesus, then Simeon took him up in his arms, and blest God, saying, * Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh; so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Antiphon on the Magnificat:
Today the blessed Virgin Mary presented the Child Jesus in the temple, * and Simeon, filled with the Holy Spirit, received him into his arms, and began to bless God, whom he blesseth unto all eternity.

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