Bright face in the darkness

Once again I turn to poet Malcolm Guite to help us reflect on today’s feast day, the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas (and previously as the Purification of Our Lady). There is not so much religious poetry around today, and he has the ability to help enter us more deeply, I think.

So the angles, shepherds, Wise Men have gone. Mary and Joseph now sink into the crowds of parents going up to the Temple at Jerusalem. Guite invites us to join them – or let them join us in our “busyness” – to know “the peace that Simeon and Anna knew”.

Read the poem slowly and picture the scene…

A Sonnet for Candlemas

They came, as called, according to the Law.
Though they were poor, and had to keep things simple,
They moved in grace, in quietness, in awe,
For God was coming with them to His temple.

Amidst the outer court’s commercial bustle
They’d waited hours, enduring shouts and shoves,
Buyers and sellers, sensing one more hustle,
Had made a killing on the two young doves.

They come at last with us to Candlemas
And keep the day the prophecies came true
We glimpse with them, amidst our busyness,
The peace that Simeon and Anna knew.

For Candlemas still keeps His kindled light,
Against the dark of our Saviour’s face is bright.

from “Sounding The Seasons” published by Canterbury Press
Fr Matthew