By Sister Lauretta
On February 2 the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 40 days after Christmas. This feast was formerly known as Candlemas Day and many will remember that candles have been an important part of each year’s celebration down through their lifetime. Historically, candles predated Christianity by centuries and have been adopted for specific purposes and ceremonies. As early as the second century, a Christian academic wrote that the religious use of candles “…represented Christ, the Uncreated and Eternal Light.”
We recall God’s words, “Let there be light!” as one of the first things we read in Scripture. Light was the initial gift for the world God was creating, for where there is God, there can no longer be darkness. From the first spark originating from this act of love, God is connected to light – a light that warms and nourishes and loves. But we have also been told by Jesus, who called himself the “Light of the World”, that we, too, must be light in the world. To better understand this assignment and how we must spread light, I’d like to share some words from my December Franciscan Newsletter.
2020 certainly had us seeing things in the darkness. But we know that life doesn’t require all to be calm and bright. When Jesus came to earth he entered the world at war and in darkness. There was no comfort and joy, but he came to fill it with his light and peace… We are all beacons of light and now more than ever. We are called to be “a light to those who are in darkness.” Our challenge Is always to be that light to others, but being that light does not have to be a grand, large and exhausting endeavor. The simple things are the best and can mean the most… We are all like candles and some of us burn brightly. Others are dim and need another light to become stronger. But there are also those who have no light, and we need to lend our light to them. Take your light and run toward the darkness. On the periphery of our world exists those that are ignored, forgotten, unloved, lonely, suffering or need to know someone cares. No matter how bright your candle is, if you bring any light to darkness it will always make a difference.
There is an author who referred to those who bring their light to others as “shining people.” “Shining people,” he tells us, “know that they have been empowered to love the people God purposefully placed in their lives and, with God’s guidance and love, strive to light up the world, to bring light to everyone and to everything they do.” Finally, at the recent inauguration ceremony Amanda Gorman inspired us with her beautiful words on light saying, “There is always light…if only we’re brave enough to be it.” Let us be “shining people” bringing our light to those who need it!