Thursday, February 2, 2017

Candlemas and St. Anne Line

Please see my blog post for The National Catholic Register in which I first discuss the greatness of the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple and how that is partially obscured by the liturgical calendar using the term "Ordinary Time" for this period between Christmas and Lent.

Then I tell the story of St. Anne Line's arrest on February 2, 1601, just before Father Francis Page, SJ was beginning the celebration of the Feast with the blessing of candles and Mass. He was able to escape capture while she was held in Newgate Prison until her trial and execution later that month.

Now it's time to put away the creches and take down the greenery: the 40 days of Christmas are over and Lent is just a short month away. As Robert Herrick wrote:

DOWN with rosemary and bayes,
  Down with the mistleto,
Instead of holly, now up-raise
  The greener box, for show.
The holly hitherto did sway;        5
  Let box now domineere,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
  Or Easter’s eve appeare.
Then youthful box, which now hath grace
  Your houses to renew,        10
Grown old, surrender must his place
  Unto the crisped yew.
When yew is out, then birch comes in,
  And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kinne        15
  To honor Whitsontide.
Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
  With color oken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
  To re-adorn the house.        20
Thus times do shift; each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed as former things grow old.

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