Back in the old days, only wax candles were used in church to give light to the sacred space to assist the worship. Now we have electric lights and altar and tabernacle candles fueled by oil. However, we still use wax candles on major feasts (Christmas and Easter) in our candelabras, but not as much as before. When items are used at Mass, they need to be blessed such as chalices, patens, baptismal fonts, tabernacles, bells, organs, stations of the cross, etc. So, too, were the wax candles to be used during Mass. Each year, 40 days after the birth of the Lord, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, all the candles to be used throughout the year were brought into the church and blessed. Their light would be a symbol of Jesus (the Light of the World) about whom Simeon said in Luke’s gospel (Lk 2:22-40), “A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” For this reason this day was also known as Candlemas Day.
The gospel presents Jesus not only to his Father but also to Simeon and Anna, two very holy people, who longed to see the Lord. They waited many years and prepared themselves through prayer and fasting. Since we, too, want to see Jesus at the end of our lives, it might be a good idea to incorporate a bit more prayer and fasting into our lives. Although we are no longer obligated to abstain from meat every Friday, we are still to do some form of penance in remembrance of Good Friday.