On the feast of the Presentation of our Lord, it is the custom to bless candles in the Church. One of the things that I am reminded of this day is how similar our own spiritual life is to a candle. The flame…the Light and Love of Christ…is ignited within us at Chrismation, providing within us a natural illumination to protect us from the darkness.
St. Nikolai of Zica once said:
“Candles remind us that before anything else, the Creator of the world created light, and after that, everything else in Order: “And God said, let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). And so it must be so also at the beginning of our spiritual life…so that before anything else, the light of Christ’s truth would shine in us. From this light of Christ’s truth, subsequently, every good is created, springs up, and grows in us.
This past year, how many times have we either experienced or heard stories of those who have been driven to the brink of despair, shrouded in darkness, and seemingly absent of hope? As difficult as things have been for us Orthodox Christians, imagine how much more difficult it must be to those who do not have the light of Christ in their lives…who have been bumping into the proverbial “coffee tables” and searching for the “matches of meaning” where they can’t be found. It is our calling as bearers of Christ’s Light to illuminate not just our own lives, but all of those who are searching for that gentle presence of Christ in the midst of chaos.
A home without a lit oil lamp in front of icons is cold and dark, but when you have a lit oil
lamp in front of your icons, you are giving yourself a physical reminder of the energy of
the Holy Spirit in the home.
We should "electrify" our homes, to have the energy of the Holy Spirit in them, with holy
icons, oil lamps, holy water, incense and our prayers.
In a home where there is blasphemies and yelling, it is natural that it will have an energy
opposite to that of the energy of the Holy Spirit.
If there is one person in that home, who takes care to resist the energy of Satan, that
person will pray in the home, will have icons, will take care to sprinkle the home with holy
water, then the Grace of God will defeat the presence of the devil.
You’ve ascended the ladder of renunciation; don’t turn back’ (Saint John of the Ladder). How many times, in the course of marriage or family life, are we troubled by the thought that perhaps we married the wrong person. Our mind goes to other loves and we invent scenarios in which we’d have been happier with someone else or with other choices. We wonder whether we’ve made mistakes in the way we’ve brought up the children, if we should have done things differently, if we gave them as much time as we should have, listened to them enough, if we were too lenient or too strict. We have the same concerns regarding our professional choices, the way we’ve handled our money, how we did at school or university, issues where we were called upon to make decisions which had consequences. And these thoughts torment us.