Also known as Candlemas
From a Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop
Concerning that time it was written : And of Sion it shall be reported that he was born in her, and the Most High shall establish her. O how blessed is the omnipotence of him that was born! Yea, how blessed is the glory of him that came from heaven to earth! Whist he was yet in his Mother’s womb, he was saluted by John the Baptist. And when he was presented in the temple, he was recognized by the old man Simeon, a worthy who was full of years, proved and crowned. The ancient one, as soon as he knew him, worshipped and said : Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.
He had lingered in the world to see the birth of him who made the world. The old man knew the Child, and in that Child became a child himself, for in the love wherewith he regarded the Father of all, he felt his own years to be but as yesterday. The ancient Simeon bare in his arms the new-born Christ, and all the while, Christ ruled and upheld the old man. Simeon had been told by the Lord the he should not taste death before he had seen the birth of the Lord’s Christ. Now that Christ was born, all the old man’s wishes on earth were fulfilled. He that was come into a decrepit world now also came to an old man.
Simeon wished not to remain long in the world, but with great desire he had desired to see Christ in the world, for he had sung with the Prophet : Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation. And now at last, that ye might know how that, to his joy, his prayer was granted, he said : Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. The Prophets have sung that the Maker of heaven and earth world converse on earth with men. An Angel hath declared that the Creator of flesh and spirit would come in the flesh. The unborn John, yet in the womb, hath saluted the unborn Saviour yet in the womb. The Old man Simeon hath seen God as a little Child.
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.