2nd February :–
The Presentation of the Lord –
The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Like so many others, I do enjoy seeing the first snowdrops flowering in the garden or in the verges of our rural roads. Much has been written about this little flower; legends, stories and literature abound. To-day there is a huge fascination for snowdrops and something of a market for new varieties, although it may not yet be on the scale of the tulip mania in Holland in the mid 1600s!
(I am not here to advertise the BBC but to hear more about ‘Snowdrop Country’ go to BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000r4w1)
As well as being a sure sign of Spring and a symbol of hope, they are an analogue of to-day’s feast. It was in the Temple that Simeon prophesied Mary’s dolours (Luke 2:34-35) representing therefore my Cathedral Church’s dedication, ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’. It is for that reason that snowdrops figure in my coat of arms in the lower of the two cornucopia. In Welsh the snowdrop is one of those wild flowers that has a Marian name ‘Tapr Mair’ - Mary’s Taper - and that connects the Diocese with the Welsh Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan.
“Simeon blessed them both, but turned from the one who appeared to be the father to speak to his mother, Mary. He said: ‘See, he will be for the falling and the rising of many in Israel’ (Luke 2:33). He speaks of the fall of those who fail to believe, the resurrection of believers; or another way the Lord is a wrecker of evil in our hearts, but a renewer of the good; lust decays, prudence rises. Or this can be understood in yet another way, that Christ is ordained for ruin, for he is going to suffer and fall into death, and many will rise at the time of his dying. Stay where you are, for a fall; go on, for the resurrection of many. The cross is a sign of contradiction for this time, since unbelievers will not receive it. The incarnation of the Lord is called a sign, and a sign of wonder, for God became man, and a virgin a mother.”
Theophylact of Bulgaria. (c.1055-c.1107) was a Byzantine archbishop of Ohrid and commentator on the Bible.