The second day in February is the feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, which is also called the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin. Another name for this popular feast is Candlemas Day.
Forty days after His birth, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple of Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord as the Law of Moses prescribed. They carried with them the usual offering of the poor, a pair of turtledoves. The Law of Moses commanded that the firstborn male child should be offered to God in thanksgiving for the sparing, by the exterminating Angel, of the Israelites in Egypt.
At the time of the presentation and purification there was in the Temple a just and God-fearing man named Simeon, who recognized the infant Messiah, and taking Him in his arms declared Him to be the savior, the Light of the Gentiles and the Glory of Israel.
On this feast candles are blessed and carried in procession with appropriate prayer and ceremonies. The blessed beeswax candles typify the humanity that God the Son assumed, and signify that Jesus Christ is the True Light of the world by His doctrine, grace, and example. They also represent the ardent faith, hope, and charity with which the Christian should follow Christ by humble obedience to His Gospel and imitation of His virtues.
Blessed candles are lighted at Mass and other church services; at the administration of all the Sacraments except Penance; in imparting blessings, in processions, and in other liturgical ceremonies. There should be at least two blessed candles in every Catholic home for use when the Sacraments are administered to the sick, and at times of any special danger, blessing, or family devotion.
PRAYER: Almighty and ever-living God, on this day Your only Son was presented in the Temple as sharing our human nature. We humbly ask that we too may be presented to You with purified intentions. Amen.