The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, February 2nd, is 40 days after the Nativity of the Lord, when all first born sons in Israel were required to be consecrated to the Lord. The Lord Jesus was presented by his Blessed Mother and good St Joseph and received by two prophetic and expectant Israelites, Simeon and Anna. The Church, the priestly people of God, are called to live the consecration of their baptism in order to shine the light of Christ for all the world to see.
Every year on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. Each consecrated person is called to be a signum contradicetur, a sign of contradiction, a eschatological sign of the world to come, where God will be all in all. This is done by living the evangelical counsels in vows or promises that in a consecrated person's radical witness, the life of Christ would be made manifest. It is a good day for consecrated men and women to renew their commitment to the Lord. In many diocese throughout the world SOLT celebrates this day with special fervor. As Pope Benedict XVI said for this year's celebration:
“On today’s feast we therefore celebrate the mystery of consecration: the consecration of Christ, the consecration of Mary, the consecration of all those who commit themselves to following Jesus for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”
Simeon's canticle Nunc Dimitis, which the Church prays every day for night prayer is taken from this encounter in the temple. Enjoy this musical tribute to the Presentation from Vatican Radio.
Redemptionis Donum - Apostolic Exhortation by Bl Pope John Paul II
Vita Consecrata - Post Synodal Exhortation by Bl Pope John Paul II
Message for 15th World Day of Prayer (last year) by Pope Benedict XVI