Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.
I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Thinking of visiting Oxford?
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
Thinking about Candlemas it occurs to me that we can understand this feast as being the third disclosure of Our Lord to the world.
If Christmas is His birth and revelation to the Jewish people, represented by the shepherds - as well as the rejection implicit in Herod's seeking to destroy the King of the Jews -, and Epiphany is His revelation to the Gentiles symbolised by the Magi - and its associated commemorations of the Baptism and the miracle at Cana disclosing His Divine commission and power at the start of His active ministry - then Candlemas is the revelation of Christ to God's people - Jew or Gentile - in the Temple, be it the old one of Jerusalem or the new one that is His Body, the Church.
In all three disclosures Our Lady is there as physical mother, as representitive of faithful Judaism, as proto-Church and as Mother of the Church.
So Candlemas is not just the end of the Christmas season, but a vital point of proclaiming the status of the Divine Infant to His world. In St Luke the next time we encounter Our Lord He is back in the Temple, about His father's business. That is where we will find him.