Thursday, 31 January 2008

The angel lights of Christmas morn,

which shot across the sky,
away they pass at Candlemass,
they sparkle and they die.

Comfort of earth is brief at best,
although it be divine;
like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
old Simeon's tapers shine.

And then for eight long weeks and more,
we wait in twighlight grey,
till the tall candle sheds a beam,
on Holy Saturday.

We wait along the penance-tide,
of solemn fast and prayer,
while song is hushed and light grows dim,
in the sin laden air.

And while the sword in Mary's soul,
is driven home, we hide
in our own hearts, and count the wounds
of passion and of pride.

And still, though Candlemas be spent,
and Alleluias o'er,
Mary is music in our need,
and Jesus light in store.

Cardinal Newman



So we sing in the Oratory at the triduo in preparation for the feast of Candlemas, the anniversary of the Oratory's foundation in England. In the evenings of the three days beforehand we have a service consisting of a Gospel passage, prayers for the Oratory and the conversion of Birmingham, finishing with benediction.

Admittedly this hymn may not be the best of Cardinal Newman's writings, but I have a soft spot for it. Candlemas is a feast I eagerly anticipate and count down to in January, for it marks beginning of the end of the long winter's nights, with the drudgery of having to rise in the dark. So next Monday, it will nearly be light when I rise: hooray!

1 comment:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Hi Oliver..i've nominated you for an award..check out my blog..thanks for the Newman hymn..