I found the following reflection from Sr. Joan Chittister’s recent reflections and found it to be very pertinent and timely. Perhaps you will as well.
“The question is: In what ways do candles contribute to the development of the spiritual life? How can I myself help that happen?
Candles, for all their fragility, are, in fact, the overwhelming images of what it means to be spiritually alive. In them is ancient energy, perpetual light, sign and symbol of possibility, of help on the horizon.
Does life smother us often? Yes, but the candle flares and reminds us to get up again and follow the Light of Christ—even when it seems we can’t do it for one more minute, even as the flame weakens, even as the wax softens.
Does life leave us in darkness often? Yes. Which is exactly when the candle reminds us to raise the Light of Christ in ourselves. It’s that light of hope and trust in us that we live to shine into the darkened lives of those whose own inner lights are weakening now. We live to light the candles of others in times of darkness so that none of us may collapse just when we need strength most.
Do we ourselves ever slip into darkness so severe that we cannot see our way out of it? Yes, and, at that point, the candle reminds us to believe that the light is with us, in us, showing us the way even when we cannot see a certain path.
Have we ever given in to darkness, to the feeling of failure, to the notion of impossibility, to a sense of light flickering weakly within? Of course. But it is just then that the lighted candle reminds us that, having been saved from our own weakness before, we will be strengthened by this community, by this Gospel, by this burning candle, which recalls to us the eternal presence of God, to the Jesus-path still in front of me. The candle itself becomes a steady, ever-steady, eternal presence and small light in each soul.”