Monday, February 13, 2017
Where Is Your Light?
I lit a small vigil candle at the foot of the statue of Mary. I do that every Sunday morning, and always offer a prayer for those the Lord brings into my life, and sometimes a special prayer for a person or matter that has been brought to my attention. I’m sure some would ask: Why light a candle? The reason is that the candle is a visible sign of invisible events --- my prayers, grace, love --- that are happening. It’s not hocus-pocus or paganism; it’s so that I won’t forget: I need to, I want to be a small light in this world, and I want to never forget that Jesus’ light forever burns in my heart. I light the candle with nothing but good intentions in my heart.
This morning I was again reminded, however, that though my intentions may be good, God’s are better, and I need to trust in that fact.
As I sat during mass I glanced over at the rack of vigil candles, and I saw my small solitary light there, and it suddenly hit me that I WAS seeing that light. Between me and that solitary candle sat perhaps 15 or 20 people, some large, some with puffy hairdos, and even one teenager who was wearing a cap in church (sheesh!). Looking to the left of that candle’s light I saw only heads, and the same sight-blockage was on the right. Only one tiny spot on that rack of perhaps 100 vigil candle lights was visible to my eye, and it was where my little light burned. Two thoughts came to me: First, how unlikely that this one spot is the one I should be able to see, and second, how I had expected to see that light --- since I had glanced over in so many past weeks and almost always seemed to see the light. When I needed to see it, the reminder was always there.
A key point to note about the little candle I lit is that while I lit it with my intentions in mind, I never really prayed for God’s specific actions to accomplish my intentions --- God’s actions and ways were His business, not mine. Perhaps someone else needed to see that candle and gain hope, so God used it for them. Perhaps seeing it, someone else was reminded that they need to be a better light in the world. Perhaps someone saw the light and was reminded: God is there for her. All those things are possible and maybe even likely, after I did my little good thing.
Every person, EVERY person, has that light of God within her, but like grace or prayers or love, you can’t see it. If, like my little candle, our light is going to shine so others can be influenced by it, --- or even WE can appreciate that it is truly there --- we need to do something which CAN be seen. Go to church, smile, help a poor or ill person, or even stop getting mad so often. All these things can be seen by others, and then they can see the God who is within us. God’s presence within us, His grace, His love, is not a private thing. It is meant to be shared. You do not put a basket over a candle to hide it; you put it on a lamp stand so it can be seen. God’s love, which He has given you, IS within you, and it is meant to be shared with all those you meet.
Do something for your neighbor, and perhaps even you will see, in a passing window or mirror, a light you did not realize was there. Because sometimes others can see what we ourselves can’t: we truly are beautiful, made in His image. And we are a light in this world.