“Light your candles quietly, such candles as you possess, wherever you are.” ~ Fr. Alfred Delp, martyred in Nazi Germany, age 38
As the daylight hours shorten and we approach a fallow time of year, many Christian denominations prepare for the season of Advent, the month-long period of waiting for the celebration of the birth of the Christ-Child, the Light of the World. Other faith traditions, such as Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights, while our Jewish sisters and brothers prepare for Hannukah. Darkness calls humanity to seek the light, eon after eon.
Our current pandemic is certainly a dark place, while social and political upheaval in the United States and in other parts of the world create heavy shadows. But each of us has been given a spark of light, and this time of year, in particular, is an appropriate, and much-needed, season to reflect on how we can shine our lights together. As Father Delp, a Jesuit priest hanged for treason in Nazi Germany, invited, we are to shine humbly in whatever way our souls, spirits, psyches call us to, in whatever places and situations we find ourselves, in order to stave off the darkness and encircle our world with the healing power of light.
During this Season of Advent/Diwali/Hannukah, etc., I will be sharing my reflections on how we may be called to both wait in the darkness and to illuminate the shadows in a series called Light in a Dark Season. I invite you to join me as a Light-Bearer so that together we might spread a mantle of brightness over our wounded world.
In the small still shadow of a darkened morning
before the screeching of this broken world repeats,
I strike a match and set it to a stub of wick:
an offering of light being birthed yet again.
Before the screeching of this broken world repeats,
I breathe sacred flame-glow into heart, psyche, soul
an offering of light being birthed yet again,
a single, slender candle singing prayer.
I breathe sacred flame-glow into heart, psyche, soul,
imagine the brilliance of a hundred million candles
burning quietly on the edges of every dawn
before the screeching of this broken world repeats.
I strike a match and set it to a stub of wick,
my hope for this wounded world one fluttering flame,
a single, slender candle singing prayer
in the small still shadows of a darkened morning.
© Rosemary McMahan