February Taizé: We present ourselves to God

After the birth of Samuel, his mother, Hannah, brought him to the temple and presented him to the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:24ff)

There is a tradition that Anna and Joachim, the parents of Mary, offered Mary to God in the temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless. From the beginning of her life, Mary was dedicated to God.

Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple and presented him to God. (Lk 2:22ff) Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, as was required by Jewish law for firstborn sons.

The Church in the West celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25, so the Presentation was celebrated on February 2, 40 days after Christmas. At the beginning of the eighth century, Pope Sergius inaugurated a candlelight procession. At the end of the same century the blessing and distribution of candles, which continues to this day became part of the celebration, giving the feast its popular name: Candlemas.

What is Taizé?

Taizé prayer is practiced throughout the world. It is a meditative candle-lit form of community prayer that includes simple chants sung repeatedly, silence and prayers of praise and intercession. In prayer, we enter the silence, stilling the mind, opening the heart, surrendering to the action of the Spirit ever molding us into the image of Christ. The candles used in the service symbolize the presence of the risen Christ, who conquered darkness and sin and offers new life to all humankind.

Taizé Prayer comes from an ecumenical, monastic community in France and has spread to numerous spots around the world.

From the depths of the human condition, a secret aspiration rises up. Today many are thirsting for the essential reality: an inner life, signs of the Invisible. Nothing is more conducive to communion with the living God than meditative common prayer. When the mystery of God becomes tangible through the simple beauty of symbols, when it is not smothered by too many words, then a common prayer awakens us to heaven’s joy on earth.

All the videos of our Taizé prayer services are available here.

Photo Credit: The presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Painting. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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