HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







Sacred Signs
by Romano Guardini

CANDLES



WE stand in a double and contrary relationship to objects outside

ourselves. We stand to the world and all its contents as when God

brought the animals to the first man for him to name. Among them

all Adam could find no companion. Between man and the rest of

creation there is a barrier of difference, which neither

scientific knowledge nor moral depravity can remove or efface.

Man is of another make from every other earthly creature. To him

they are foreign. His kinship is with God.



On the other hand he is related to everything that exists in the

world. Everywhere we feel somehow at home. The shapes, attitudes,

movements of objects all speak to us, all are a means of

communication. It is the incessant occupation of the human soul

to express through them its own interior life, and to make them

serve as its signs and symbols. Every notable form we come across

strikes us as expressing something in our own nature, and reminds

us of ourselves.



This feeling of our connection with things is the source of

metaphor and simile. We are profoundly estranged from, yet

mysteriously connected with, outside objects. They are not us,

and yet all that is or happens is an image to us of ourselves.



One of these image-objects strikes me, and I think most people,

as having more than ordinary force and beauty. It is that of a

lighted candle. There it rises, firmly fixed in the metal cup on

the broad-based, long-shafted candlestick, spare and white, yet

not wan, distinct against whatever background, consuming in the

little flame that flickers above it the pure substance of the wax

in softly-shining light. It seems a symbol of selfless

generosity. It stands so unwavering in its place, so erect, so

clear and disinterested, in perfect readiness to be of service.

It stands, where it is well to stand, before God.



It stands in its appointed place, self-consumed in light and

warmth.



Yes, of course the candle is unconscious of what it does. It has

no soul. But we can give it a soul by making it an expression of

our own attitude.



Stir up in yourself the same generous readiness to be used.

"Lord, here am I." Let the clean, spare, serviceable candle

bespeak your own attitude. Let your readiness grow into steadfast

loyalty. Even as this candle, O Lord, would I stand in your

presence.



Do not weaken in or try to evade your vocation. Persevere. Do not

keep asking why and to what purpose. To be consumed in truth and

love, in light and warmth, for God, is the profoundest purpose of

human life.














Copyright ©1999-2016 e-Catholic2000.com