On the day we were baptized, our parents were given a candle that was lit from the Paschal candle.
The Paschal candle was blessed and lit with a flame from a blessed fire on the night of the Easter Vigil. The candle is then processed into a pitch-dark church and the intonation “Christ our Light,” or “Lumen Christi” is chanted.
This is repeated three times as the Paschal candle is processed into the church. Slowly, the darkness begins to dissipate while those who are baptized begin to spread the light from the Paschal candle throughout the church.
Easter is the day we renew our baptismal promises. Those promises, which were made on our behalf at our baptism, we profess and renew each year.
On the day we were baptized, our parents were entrusted with a gift and a sacred task. The celebrant of the baptism says, “Receive the light of Christ.”
Once the candle is lit from the Paschal Candle the celebrant continues, “Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.”
Is the lit candle that was handed to the father or godfather what is to be protected? No. The lit candle is a symbol of the reality that was taken place in the soul of the newly baptized.
The Most Holy Trinity came to dwell within the soul of that child. Parents and godparents are entrusted with the supreme responsibility of protecting the very life of God that has been poured into their child’s soul in the Sacrament of Baptism. Sanctifying Grace dwells in the soul of the baptized that is in friendship with God.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said that the most tragic thing in the world that could possibly happen to us is not a sudden physical death, but a spiritual death. In other words, losing the state of Sanctifying Grace in our souls, losing friendship with God.
Parents have the sacred duty of helping their children to come to know, love and serve the Lord. They have the privilege and the difficult task of helping their child to grow in virtue and ultimately to help them to get to blessedness in Heaven. This is no easy task. This all takes Grace. We can accomplish nothing on our own.
Deep down, hopefully all of us are asking the question: What does God want me to do with my life? The first answer is God wants you to be holy. Holiness is charity. We are all called to live a life of charity after the example of Jesus Christ.
Blessed Pope John Paul II’s constant penchant was man only comes to know who he is by making a gift of himself to others. As Christians striving for holiness, our lives must become a gift for others. In doing so, our particular vocation will become clear to us.
God has given each of us particular gifts or charisms to be shared with the life of the Church. Charisms were thought of as only for the extraordinary, those who had reached an intense level of holiness.
The Second Vatican Council affirmed that charisms are not extraordinary, but for the ordinary. Charisms are gifts from God that are freely given and meant for the building up of the Christian community. Charisms are never meant for oneself alone.
Our primary vocation, our primary mission in life is holiness. We need to keep that candle burning brightly! Not simply the candle of our baptism, but the life of God dwelling within us in Sanctifying Grace.
Before the coming of Jesus Christ, man was walking in darkness. Christ came into the world to dispel the darkness of sin and to make us children of light.
We walk in the midst of the world as the continuation, a prolongation of the light of Christ. Don’t let your light get extinguished. The world desperately needs witnesses of the Gospel to bring the light of Christ into what may seem to be the darkest of situations.
Keep your flame burning brightly and Christ will light the path that he desires you to take.