I stood outside, shivering a little against the chilly night air. Many people stood around me in the dark, all silent. Through a break in the crowd, I could see the fire-lit faces of the priests and altar servers, gathered around the Easter Fire. May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds. With that, the deacon raised the Easter Candle above the heads of the company. I stood there, transfixed, watching that candle; light against dark, flame against sky. One by one the congregation began to light their candles, and, once we got inside, that one flame had lit a hundred others, bathing the entire church in bright, warm light.
One flickering flame is all that it takes. One flame, one light is all that is needed to breach the darkness.
As I read the readings for today while preparing for this blog, one line in particular stuck out to me: I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. When sitting down to think about what I should write about, one memory kept coming back; the memory of three weeks ago at the Easter Vigil Mass, the memory of that one candle — the Easter Candle — lifted high above the heads of the jostling crowd to stand alone, winking against the night sky.
Jesus is that flame. That light. That love.
This reading makes me think of the analogy of a room: You’re standing in the doorway, looking into it. In the dark, you can see nothing, other than what appears to be an empty room. Now, imagine someone else flips on a light switch. At first, the light hurts, and you squint. But now that the room is lit, you see that the floor is covered in nails and broken bits of glass.
Now, would you rather go into the room in the dark or in the light?
In the light, you see things. In the dark, you don’t. But the dark is soothing; our eyes adjust to it quickly. We, unfortunately, do too.
My point here is, let the light in. Let Jesus in. Just a tiny flame. It might hurt a little to see your broken self, it might hurt a lot, but Jesus will show you the nails and the glass so that you can avoid them. He did not come to shed light on your brokenness and failures so that he can call you out on them, denounce you, and punish you, but so that he can lead you through all the dark rooms you encounter. “And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world.” He will personally conduct you, carry you on his shoulders, even, through the dark world. He is the light. He is the love.
So go, let in the light, and see how far one flame can spread.
Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.
Feature Image Credit: Mariana, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/11272-luz-obscuridad