Saturday, February 02, 2013


Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  It is also a special day for me, of sorts, since the Gospel passage for today's Mass also gives me the opportunity to answer the question as to where my second name is taken from:  Simeon.

My first and second names are Armand Simeon.  How did I come to be nicknamed Peter?  I really do not know how that came to be.  I remember that many years ago while I was on my second semester of sophomore year at university, I had to take a management statistics class with juniors as a condition for me to be fully accepted into the management program from three semesters of Chemistry.  They had a great time when I said that my nickname was Peter, because like me, they could not find the link.

They were in stitches, however, when my seatmate, whose real name was Agustin (he must have been from Cagayan de Oro) said he too was nicknamed ... wait for it ... wait for it ... Peter.

Anyway, one of the likely links to the nickname is Simon, who became Peter.  That is probable, true, but wanting to give Simeon his due, I still prefer to say that my nickname came about, like many other nicknames, in a complicated way.

Today's Gospel at Mass contains the words of Simeon, the only time his spoken parts are read at any Mass or Feast (although he in fact has more "speaking parts" than some of the apostles):

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have sent your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,

“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

From Butler's The Lives of Saints:

The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery—the meeting in the Temple of the holy persons Simeon and Anne with Jesus and His parents. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so-much-longed-for Messias. Re foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow, and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians, also, whose lives were a contradiction to His holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God's holy will. Anne, also, the prophetess, who in her widowhood served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the Redeemer of the world. Simeon, having beheld Our Saviour, exclaimed: "Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation."

This feast is called CANDLEMAS, because the Church blesses the candles to be borne in the procession of the day.

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