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Fire Makes Everything Exciting

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the celebration of the end of the darkness, affectionately known as Candlemas. It is the day traditionally set aside to bless candles for home and liturgical use throughout the year. As part of the celebration, all of the members of the congregation are invited to process in with Father, lit candles in hand. While it is one of my very favorite feasts, it is one I participate in sparingly. My little girl enjoys frilly clothes, long hair, and no sense of self-preservation.

For my daughter's first Candlemas, she carried a flameless candle. I held her... and my lit candle. The people who say Mass is boring have never held a wiggly toddler with a tulle tutu in one arm and maneuvered a lit candle and an over-sized diaper bag in the other. Full-contact-baby-juggling-with-fire is not for the faint of heart. By the grace of God, the tutu remained unsinged, as did my daughter.

Our next Candlemas was seven years later. She loves lighting candles. She has always delighted in the dance of the little flame. It was a private moment between them. She moved in close to watch its movements... And that's when I was sure her hair would ignite. I moved her hair out of the flame's path. She did not mind. She knew it was a sign of affection. Today, I was saving her life. Again.

But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. Mal 3: 2-3

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