The candles of Candlemas refer to the words of Simeon, and, as the historian Eamon Duffy has pointed out, the sermon that the parishioners would have heard on this great feast day would most likely have mentioned that the candle is in a way like Jesus himself: the wax, wick and flame being like his body, soul and divinity.
In the Lady Chapel of Winchester cathedral, one of the wall panels painted in grisaille shows a woman asleep in church but holding a candle. This illustrates a story in the bestselling Golden Legend (famous for 200 years before Caxton printed it) of a woman who missed the Candlemas procession but dreamt of the saints in heaven taking part in the festal liturgy. An angel gave the dreamer a candle, which she found in her grasp when she awoke.
The story shows how the thoughts of lay people at church in the 15th century were in two places apart from their immediate surroundings.
Read it all.
Posted February 4, 2013 at 5:46 am
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