As we gathered in darkened churches to celebrate the Easter Vigil, we were reminded of the power of one candle. The Paschal candle lit from the Easter fire had the ability to illumine the entire church and banish the darkness. From that one candle the flame is shared and diffused throughout the worshipers until hundreds of reflections of that light bathe the entire church in a warm glow. All of which is a powerful symbol of the power of the resurrected Christ to cast out the darkness of our lives.
Part of the human experience to this day is times of darkness when we lose our way. A catastrophe can knock us off our feet. We can make impulsive decisions that endanger our long-term well-being. We can engage in destructive behavior because of the inclination to jealousy or feelings of ill-will toward others. Where do we find the guidance to help us get back on track?
For many people struggling with darkness in their lives, Catholic Charities, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Ladies of Charity, and other groups animated by their faith are the light that shines in their darkness. Like the power of one candle they shine in the darkness of another’s life and create hope and a path out of the darkness. And, taken together, all of those candles have the power to bathe our communities in the warm glow of compassion that leads to opportunity for every human being. A helping hand, a kind word, a necessary resource shared can be the spark that provides light where before there was none.
This Easter celebration of new life, of light overcoming darkness gives us the hope and faith that will show us the way throughout this coming year. This journey is one that we walk together. Let us reflect the light of the Easter candle to all those we meet, but especially to those who are looking for a way out of darkness.