Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another Year Over

I kept Candlemas at Carmel yester-day morning, again - as last year - assembling with the priest and laity in the large parlour, with the nuns assembled in due order behind the screen: they processed out through their convent to their wing of the chapel, while we made our way - all alike with blest candles burning bright - through the outer passageway into the public part of the chapel, thus coming together for the celebration of the Mass.

The celebrant was a devout Irish Carmelite, who preached a very interesting sermon, putting forward the symbolism of this feast: it is illuminated by and lies between two candles — the Christmas light, and the Paschal candle — the former for the Incarnation, the latter for the Passion and Resurrection of Christ our Lord and God.  The Eternal Son took on our nature, that in His own Incarnate Person He might offer perfect worship to God His Father — and by His Passion and Cross, won for us the grace, as sons in the Son, to offer perfect worship to the Father, "in spirit and truth".  We do this, of course, above all when we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass...

Thus we begin on earth that office of adoration which shall be our eternal occupation in heaven.

(Some foretaste of this, I felt, was the gentle unhurried pace of the celebration – Mass took almost an hour – the slow reading of the lessons by the nuns and the Gospel by the priest, his meditative sermon, his focussed recitation of the prayers throughout, and our singing of the timeless Gregorian chant of the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.)

To shew in a lively fashion that ceaseless praise is our most high calling, Mass ended with the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in the monstrance for ongoing Adoration...

Blessed be God for ever!

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