Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Punxsutawney Phil or Wiarton Willie - pretty poor pagan substitutes for the real Light of lights

I originally wrote this in 2017. My view has not changed - the groundhog ritual is a mockery of Candlemas. The groundhog is afraid of the light and goes back into his hole. Our friends in Wiarton and Punsutanawney are looking for light in all the wrong places. 
Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple on this day. The Holy Spirit had revealed to the just and devout Simeon that he should not die before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. In the temple the old man glimpsed Jesus in Mary's arms and blessed God, knowing that at last he had seen the Savior, "a light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory of Thy people Israel."
But only after the Savior's Passion and Crucifixion would the light win for men the final victory over bodily and spiritual death. Simeon therefore said to Mary, the co-redeemer of mankind, "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:35). May we, too, after having shared the redemptive sufferings of Christ attain the final grace of presentation in the holy temple of God's glory.
(from a Missal introduction to today's Mass)

What the Novus Ordo took from you:

Blessing of Candles

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray. O Holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, who hast created all things out of nothing, and by Thy command hast caused this liquid to become perfect wax by the labor of bees: and who, on this day didst fulfill the petition of the righteous man Simeon: we humbly entreat Thee, that by the invocation of Thy most holy Name and through the intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin whose feast is today devoutly observed, and by the prayers of all Thy Saints, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these candles for the service of men and for the health of their bodies and souls, whether on land or on sea: and that Thou wouldst hear from Thy holy heaven, and from the throne of Thy Majesty the voices of this Thy people, who desire to carry them in their hands with honor, and to praise Thee with hymns; and wouldst be propitious to all that call upon Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

 

Let us pray. O almighty and everlasting God, who on this day didst present Thine only-begotten Son in Thy holy temple to be received in the arms of holy Simeon: we humbly entreat Thy clemency, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless and sanctify and to kindle with the light of Thy heavenly benediction these candles, which we, Thy servants, desire to receive and to bear lighted in the honor of Thy Name: that, by offering them to Thee our Lord God, being worthily inflamed with the holy fire of Thy most sweet charity, we may deserve to be presented in the holy temple of Thy glory.

Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

 

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light who enlightenest every man that cometh into this world: pour forth Thy blessing upon these candles, and sanctify them with the light of Thy grace, and mercifully grant, that as these lights enkindled with visible fire dispel the darkness of night, so our hearts illumined by invisible fire, that is, by the splendor of the Holy Spirit, may be free from the blindness of all vice, that the eye of our mind being cleansed, we may be able to discern what is pleasing to Thee and profitable to our salvation; so that after the perilous darkness of this life we may deserve to attain to neverfailing light: through Thee, O Christ Jesus, Saviour of the world, who in the perfect Trinity, livest and reignest, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

 

Let us pray. O almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy servant Moses didst command the purest oil to be prepared for lamps to burn continuously before Thee: vouchsafe to pour forth the grace of Thy blessing upon these candles: that they may so afford us light outwardly that by Thy gift, the gift of Thy Spirit may never be wanting inwardly to our minds.

Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

 

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who appearing on this day among men in the substance of our flesh, wast presented by Thy parents in the temple: whom the venerable and aged Simeon, illuminated by the light of Thy Spirit, recognized, received into his arms, and blessed: mercifully grant that, enlightened and taught by the grace of the same Holy Ghost, we may truly acknowledge Thee and faithfully love Thee; Who with God the Father in the unity of the same Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, world without end.

R. Amen.

 

The Distribution of Candles

Ant. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles: and for the glory of Thy people Israel.

Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace.

Ant. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles: and for the glory of Thy people Israel.

Because mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.

Ant. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles: and for the glory of Thy people Israel.

Which Thou hast prepared, before the face of all peoples.

Ant. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles: and for the glory of Thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Ant. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles: and for the glory of Thy people Israel.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Ant. A light for the revelation of the Gentiles: and for the glory of Thy people Israel.

 

Ant. Arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us for Thy Name's sake.

We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Ant. Arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us for Thy Name's sake.

 

Let us pray.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, hearken unto Thy people, and grant that by the light of Thy grace, we may inwardly attain to those things which Thou grantest us outwardly to venerate by this yearly observance. Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen

 

The Procession

V. Let us go forth in peace.

R. In the Name of Christ. Amen.

Ant. Adorn thy bridal-chamber, O Sion, and welcome Christ the King: with loving embrace greet Mary who is the very gate of heaven; for she bringeth to thee the glorious King of the new light: remaining ever a Virgin yet she bearest in her arms the Son begotten before the day-star: even the Child, whom Simeon taking into his arms, declared to the peoples to be the Lord of life and death, and the Saviour of the world.

Ant. Simeon received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord; and when they brought the Child into the temple, he took Him into His arms, and blessed God, and said: Now dost Thou dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace.

V. When His parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him into His arms.

V. They offered for Him to the Lord a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons: * As it is written in the Law of the Lord.

V. After the days of the purification of Mary, according to the law of Moses, were fulfilled, they carried Jesus to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord. * As it is written in the Law of the Lord.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

R. As it is written in the Law of the Lord.

 

Followed by the Mass.


While the pagan secularists are out celebrating a couple of rodents, be they in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania or Wiarton, Ontario, we Catholics are blest to know that the groundhog is but a beautiful creature of God, it is not a god that can predict anything. Even in jest, it is a mockery of the One True God and His First Commandment - to even joke that an animal can predict the weather, other than by its Creator growing it a longer coat. 

A little English rhyme which seems to indicate the origin of the rodent used for prediction.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

In Germany, it went thus:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.


I see the groundhog ritual as satanic, more than just pagan. If the rodent sees the sun, he goes back in to his hole. Satan sees the Light of Christ, which he runs from. 

Today is Candlemas, the official end of the Christmas Season according to ancient tradition. The Christmas cycle ends today, the last singing of the Alma Redemptoris Mater after Lauds is this morning,


This feast - solemnity recalls the day when our Blessed Mother - Mary being a Jewess and forty days after giving birth to her first-born Son, the Messiah; presented herself in the Temple as Orthodox Jewish women still do today for a mikvah, or Purification. In the Roman Missal of 1962, they actually changed the name to the Presentation of the Lord, which it is of course. Prior to that, it was the Purification of Mary. Common folk, not liturgists, called it Candlemas because, "we bless candles" as Father Zed says, and we receive blest candles and take them home. Father Hunwicke has some thoughts on this and how "purification" does not fit with our modern sensibilities of a woman being, "unclean."


In the great Responsory to the Antiphons during the Procession, we sing, repeatedly after each verse:

After the days of Mary 's purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord
aa

Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph went up to Jerusalem "according to the law of Moses." They followed the Law, they loved, the Law. They did not mock the Law, they did not feel that the Law kept them from grace. They were not "rigid." They were not "hiding" anything.

A few weeks ago, right after Epiphany and for the first time, the Creche and Christmas Tree in St. Peter's Square were removed. It was then, after all, "Ordinary Time." As I sit and write this, the Christmas Tree, (cut ourselves in early December and left outside until the 23rd) is still alit. It actually has new growth, never losing its water supply and tricked in to thinking it was Spring, it is only now starting to drop a few needles. The house is still decorated with the manger and holly and boxwood and pine. Fox and I will still use our Christmas mugs for this mornings coffee. Tonight, for Vespers followed by Holy Mass, it will be lit for the last time until next Christmas, the Lord willing. 

Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.
Here is an old poem giving insight into the beautiful tradition when our ancestors would mark the changing of time and seasons and think of simpler things, and God.


1. Down with the rosemary and bays,
Down with the mistletoe ;
Instead of holly, now up-raise
The greener box, for show.

Refrain:
Thus times and seasons oft do shift; each thing his turn doth hold ;
New thoughts and things now do succeed, as former things grow old.

2. The holly hitherto did sway ;
Let box now domineer
Until the dancing Easter day,
Or Easter's eve appear. Refrain

3. Then youthful box which now hath grace
Your houses to renew ;
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crisped yew. Refrain

4. When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside ;
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin
To honour Whitsuntide. Refrain

5. Green rushes, then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments
To re-adorn the house. Refrain


16 comments:

Sandpiper said...

Thanks for that beautiful overview. Think I'll go buy a boxwood.

Jim J. McCrea said...

I never thought of it that way, but using a groundhog to predict the weather is the sin of divination.

Guest said...

Christ is Born!

Since today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (TL calendar: Purification of Our Lady), I thought that you might like this:

The Ancient of Days, Who of old gave the Law to Moses on Sinai
appears this day as an infant.
The Creator of the Law fulfils the Law.
He is brought into the Temple
and is given over to the Elder.
The just Simeon receives Him,
and beholding the fulfilment of the divine promise, joyfully cries out:
My eyes have seen the mystery hidden from all eternity.
It has been revealed in these latter days.
The Light has radiated the darkness of unbelieving Gentiles
and gives glory to the newly chosen Israel.
Therefore, let Your servant depart from the bonds of this flesh
to the wondrous unending life that knows no age.
And we pray You to grant great mercy to the world.

He, Who once gave the Law to Moses on Sinai,
today submits Himself to the prescriptions of the Law.
In His compassion He has become like us for our sakes.
Now the pure God, as a holy infant having opened a pure womb,
is being offered as God to Himself.
He is freeing us from the curse of the Law
and granting light to our souls.

Source: www.royaldoors.net


This is the true meaning of the day, not Punxsutawney Phil. (Just wondering: How did you find out about PP since you're north of the border? Are you originally from Pennsylvania?)

In Christ the King,

Margaret

Vox Cantoris said...

Pux gets around!

Guest said...

Hmmm...PP must be one fast groundhog in order to get to Toronto in one day! ;-)

Guest said...

Same here. Thanks for posting it.



Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Learned something new.

Osusanna said...

I agree it's mockery. Phil presented to the world. If I remember correctly, this day in 2015 the Gerber Baby of the Year was shown on my local news. Satan apes God.

Anonymous said...

On busycatholic blogspot, they do the opposite, the usual Dan Brown thing. " the church copied it from pagans" I tried to explain how that couldn't be true. Anyone else wanna direct these confused Catholics back into the Light?

Jonvilas said...

One correction – tonight, at the end of Compline, the antiphon "Ave Regina caelorum" should be sung, not "Alma redemtoris Mater".

Vox Cantoris said...

Yes, you are correct, thanks for catching that, I will edit it. Fox and I sang the Alma for the last time after Lauds this morning.

Anonymous said...

Not today! Today is a solemn Holy Day. Our Lord hates it when people shop on Sundays and Holy Days.

Eternal Father, I offer Their the Adorable Face of Thy Beloved Son for the honor and glory of Thy Holy Name and for the salvation of all men.

Our Lord Jesus Christ gave this prayer to Sr. Mary of St. Peter in establishing devotion to His Holy Face.

Kathleen1031 said...

What a lovely post, something helpful to contemplate and sweet to consider. Thank you.
The voice of the priest singing in the video is just so beautiful, what a voice he has, even speaking it is amazing but in song, my word. What a sound that praises God! Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Vox,

Thank you for reposting my post from last year. It was so thoughtful of you!

In Christ the King,

Margaret

Dorota Mosiewicz-Patalas said...

This is Beautiful. Thank You, Vox.

Irenaeus said...

Thank you for the reflection, Vox. I didn't see it when you posted it all those years ago.

Happy Candlemas. God bless you abundantly.

Irenaeus