Celebrating More Than Just a Groundhog

candles2What is February 2nd known for?  In secular society, it’s ‘Groundhog’s Day.’  While there’s nothing wrong with remembering this little rodent and speculating on whether or not he’ll see his silhouette created by the sun, I’d invite us to go a little deeper.

While the sun is a beautiful thing, and certainly necessary for life, February 2nd is an invitation for us to remember the true Light.  While our friend Punxsutawney Phil sneaks out of his hole to see what he can see, the Church celebrates a truly luminous event, the Presentation of Our Lord in the temple, according to Jewish custom, forty days after His birth.

On this day, the Church also observes the custom of blessing the candles to be used for the year.  In our small chapel at St. Anne’s, Fr. Greg Haman (from St. Michael’s Church) did this at our morning Mass.  Everyone attending was enabled to take part in a tangible way by holding tapers, which Father lit with his own at the beginning of Mass.

It was a beautiful, heartwarming thing, to see how, symbolically, the light of Christ was given to each of us.  We are to treasure this light, to protect it, and to spread it.

This feast of the Presentation, when we remember the dedication of Jesus in the temple, has a special significance to me.  It was on this day that I was received as a postulant in Hankinson, and fittingly so; it is the World Day for the Consecrated Life.

However, this year it’s a little bitter-sweet since it marks the end of the Year of Consecrated Life declared by Pope Francis.

Today, as you hear about the groundhog and his shadow, you might take the time to remember Our Lord’s presentation and re-dedicate yourself to Him.  May His light shine in your heart this day and always!

Sr. Christina M. Neumann

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2 thoughts on “Celebrating More Than Just a Groundhog

  1. According to the book, The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Good Life, Phil is a related to Our Lady by way of the Pilgrims. England had sayings about Candlemas (The Feast of the Presentation) and the end of winter that featured Our Lady. When the Pilgrims came to our shores they did not want to refer to such Catholic customs but found the predictive saying useful, so they replace the mother of their Lord with a groundhog.

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