The month of February is quite busy, liturgically speaking, this year. On the 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple we ended, what was for many people, the season of Christmas. Some may have left their cribs up until that day, and others – certainly some in our village – were stalwart in leaving their Christmas lights shining brightly in the dark streets. How much, this year, in particular, we welcomed that illumination, whether electric or candlelight, reminding us of that lovely verse at the beginning of St John’s gospel, speaking of the coming among us of the Son of God:
All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of all people, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower. (1:4,5)
Perhaps we have also lighted candles for those who are isolating, for those who are carers, for those who have gone to God whom we are remembering and praying for. A monk once wrote,
Light and love are brought together in a mystical union in the very act of lighting. For love lives in an atmosphere of light. (Anon)
Our candles, on the feast of the Presentation reminded us of this light and this love.
And now, two weeks later, it’s the beginning of Lent! We are, as it were catapulted into a different mood! In the Temple in Jerusalem, the prophet Simeon had spoken about Our Lady’s mission being united with her Son’s. He saw that the Son won’t grow away from the Mother, but will draw her anew into his path. He will need her still. As, earlier on, she made possible her Son’s mission, so now her Son makes possible, the continuance of hers. There will always be those who, like St John, will be led by the Son to the Mother, but also those, like St Joseph who will be led by the Mother to the Son. In Lent, we’re especially aware of the Mary’s standing at the foot of her Son’s cross with St John. Maybe this Lent, we can remember and reflect on Our Lord’s giving us his Mother to be ours, too, so that we don’t stand at the foot of the cross alone, we don’t embrace it in isolation, but alongside our brothers and sisters in faith and wrapped in the mantle of our Blessed Mother.