Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Feast of the Presentation

O Zion, open wide thy gates,
As we with thanks draw near;
A Source and Savior both in one,
The Truth Himself is here.

Aware of hidden Deity
The joyful Mary brings
Her newborn babe, with two young doves,
Her humble offerings.

The aged Simeon sees at last
This promise long-desired,
And Anna welcomes Israel's hope,
With holy rapture fired.

"This is the light prepared to shine
Upon the lands of earth;
This, Israel's glory evermore,
Salvation's blessed birth!"

But silent knelt the mother blest
Of the yet-silent Word,
And pond'ring all things in her heart,
With speechless praise adored.

Jean de Santeuil, 1680
tr. Edward Caswall, 1849; alt.

There are other hymns for this day (though not a great many), but of course I'd choose the one that includes both Simeon AND Anna, from the passages in the Gospel of Luke.

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