Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Purification of Our Lady

Today is the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, also known as the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

It marks the occasion on which we meditate in the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: that extraordinary visit of the Holy Family to the temple, to be met by the prophet Anna and Simeon, the priest.

There is so much to meditate on: the humility of Our Lady (of all people) being ritually purified;  the devout Jewishness of the Holy Family; the idea of Our Lady offering God back to God, and being entrusted with God by God; and the extraordinary prophecies of Anna and Simeon.

Today also marks the end of the Christmas season: our cribs will be taken down this evening, and we will stop singing the Alma Redemptoris Mater, and start singing the Ave Regina Caelorum.  This is sung daily until compline of the Wednesday of Holy Week.

Ave, Regina Caelorum,
Ave, Domina Angelorum:
Salve, radix, salve, porta
Ex qua mundo lux est orta:
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa,
Vale, o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, O Queen of Heaven enthroned.
Hail, by angels mistress owned.
Root of Jesse, Gate of Morn
Whence the world's true light was born:
Glorious Virgin, Joy to thee,
Loveliest whom in heaven they see;
Fairest thou, where all are fair,
Plead with Christ our souls to spare.

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