Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Light A Candle

"It is better to . . . .

. . . than to curse the darkness.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are the times I would walk into church with my Grandmother and see the rows of flickering votive candles over in the side chapel.

It was an instant reminder that this, in fact, is a place of prayer. After we found "our" pew, knelt down, took our rosaries out of our pockets and blessed ourselves, my grandmother would always lean her face gently to my ear and, pointing to the candles, whisper, "Now, before you make your own prayers, remember to pray for all the people who have left their petitions here."

There was something wondrously comforting in that. This was a place where you could leave your petitions of prayers and someone would take them up where you left off. And, you would do the same for them.

I remember once asking my grandmother, "But, VaVoa, what happens when the church is empty? Who prays for these petitions when no one is here?"

"Ah," she'd smile gently, "but, the church is never empty, my little one. This is God's house. Jesus is always here. And, so are all the Saints."

It's a lovely little ritual that I didn't know I was missing until just today.

I recently discovered a website called Gratefulness.Org which has a wonderful link which enables you to Light a Candle in Cyberspace.

I find myself comforted by the thought that people who visit this place in cyberspace can take a moment from their busy lives and participate in the ancient ritual of lighing a candle of hope against the darkness of the world.

If the church isn't about hope, then it really has no right to call itself church.

So, welcome to this wonderful little ritual. Scroll to the place under my picture and go to the LINKS section. Click on "LIGHT A CANDLE" and then follow the directions.

Take your time. Breathe. Pray.

And, if you see other candles lit there, before you make your own prayers, remember to pray for all the people who have left their petitions.

Emily Dickinson wrote, "Hope is a thing with feathers."

Pauli Murray wrote, "Hope is a song in a weary throat."

Inspired by them both, I found myself writing this:

Hope is a flicker of light in the darkness.

May you know hope this day.

Enter this quiet space, that you may surrender your anxieties and despair and become a prisoner of hope.


Flutegirl said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. You know how much I needed this.


MadPriest said...

Actually my dear, and remember we're (officially) more intelligent than that other lot, it is easier to switch the light on at the wall.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, yes, my darling MadPriest, but flicking a light on the wall has nothing to do with either intelligence or spirituality.

Rather, it has everything to do with privilege.

Upstairs, downstairs and all that.

Ummm . . . point of personal privilege, m'lord.

Is it "the light AT the wall" or is it rather, "the light ON the wall"?

I suppose this is yet another example of "two countries separated by a common language."

Suzer said...

Lovely! Thank you for this.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Your grandmother is a very insightful person. If we only knew a portion of the prayers of the saints that hallow our world behind the scenes, we'd be blown away.

I'm always amazed at how my parish church can seem like it sits empty all day without visitors during the week, and yet each afternoon before I leave, there are a few dozen votive lights burning beneath the Walsingham and Benedict shrines.

Peggy said...

If the church isn't about hope, then it really has no right to call itself church.


Deborah Sproule said...

Good Girl! I drink in good at the oasis of GRATEFULNESS.ORG every day after my morning prayers. God is Great, especially in cyber space!! I especially like the diverse spiritual growth expressed by the faithful participants on