When I was in grade school, one of the Sisters suggested to us that we use the tabernacle light in church as a symbol of ourselves. It burns there all the time to remind us that Jesus is present in the tabernacle. It is quiet; it doesn’t misbehave, doesn’t cause a fuss or create a problem, and as it burns day and night, dependably, reliably, it spends itself in its mission of proclaiming Jesus, and finally, when it is totally consumed, it goes out and is replaced by another one. The Sister went on to say that we should be like that: always proclaiming by our authentically Christian lives that Jesus is here, in our hearts, minds, words, actions, attitudes. And that we should quietly and faithfully consume ourselves by lives of service of God until the day comes when we have finished our duties in this world and can surrender ourselves into the hands of our Creator. It’s a beautiful idea; I have thought of it often when in a church or chapel with the tabernacle light beside or near the tabernacle where Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is always present.
We might also give our attention to the Easter candles that burn in our churches. Each of them was blessed with great solemnity at the beginning of the Easter vigil, carried into a darkened church, set on a stand in a very conspicuous place so as to be seen by all in the church, and then used as a source of light for all the individual candles held by those in the church, so that soon the entire church is aglow with the light from the Easter candle, which of course symbolizes the risen Savior who first said to us “I am the light of the world.” Then, after preaching to his disciples, he told them, “YOU are the light of the world.” Whether on the lips of Our Lord or those of his disciples who repeat it endlessly throughout the history of the world, divine truth is the light of the world, guiding all men to their eternal destination.
During the lifetime of Saint Therese of Lisieux, there lived another Carmelite nun in another monastery in France. She was Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, recently beatified and, I hope, soon to be canonized. Her spirituality is centered upon the Holy Trinity dwelling in those in the state of grace. One day, as she was reading Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, she came across the passage (Ephesians 1:14) that says that we are destined to praise the glory of God. She was deeply struck by those words, and from then on, she thought of herself as a living praise of the glory of God. When we see the Easter candle giving its own quiet, steady, lovely praise to the risen Lord, we can apply that to ourselves also. The resurrection of Christ is the basis of our faith. “If Christ is not risen,” as Saint Paul says, “our faith is in vain.” But Christ IS risen, and our faith is rock-solid. And we can think of ourselves as candles, burning steadily to give glory and witness to our risen Savior. By our faith, by our joy, by the good example of our lives, each of us becomes an incarnate “Alleluia.”
So let us see ourselves as witnesses to the risen Christ, men and women who live in praise of his glory and who gladly share our light with our fellow men and women in this world of ours. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.