“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”
Candles are blessed in the Holy Church on February 2nd, the Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord. These blessed candles remind us of Simeon’s prayer in which he glories in the Lord’s promise. Jesus came to be the light of the world and Simeon recognized this immediately.
Today we bless these candles, those to be used in church over the coming year, and those for each of us to take home.
We keep these blessed candles (Gromnica) in our homes and light them during storms or other danger. We light them when the clergy come to bring Holy Communion to the sick or when the sick are anointed. We light them when someone is dying to light their way to eternity and to recall the fact that they are on their way to the Jesus who will be their eternal light.
A painting by Piotr Stachiewicz shows snow-covered homes in dim light. The people inside their homes are afraid of the hungry wolves on rampage outside their poor village. Mary, the Mother of God, watches over the people on those cold nights with her candle. She wards off the ravenous pack of wolves and protects the people from all harm.
There is much we might fear. It is not only the cold, and it is rarely a pack of wolves, but the wolves of the world, the greed, the anger, the prejudice, the culture of death, and other immorality surrounds our homes. It attacks our children.
The funny thing is that we likely have a lifetime supply of these candles we get in church in our homes. We pick them up; solemnly take them home, and put them in a drawer – just in case.
Since the wolves of the world surround us, since these represent true danger to our eternal souls, let us resolve to use these blessed candles this year. Let us use the blessed candle we receive today, and use up those blessed candles that reside in the drawers in our homes. Put them in a candleholder. Let us gather those we live with and light our blessed candle each day. Let us reflect on the protection the Lord offers, the prayers our Blessed Mother offers for us, and pray in the words of Simeon: mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation. Let us pray that Jesus, the light of the world, would continue to dwell with us, watch over us, and protect us.