Light a Candle . . or . . Curse the Darkness?

There is a prayer league called the Christopher’s who have as their motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”. What a wonderful motto. I bet you can explain its meaning without much coaching . . . spread the light, not the dark.

But what does that mean in practical ways? It means there is a choice to be made in many of our human activities, a choice between goodness and meanness, or truth or lies, or generosity and selfishness.

There are of course “neutral choices” or choices of preference (the soup you eat or the toothpaste you buy) that don’t spread light or darkness. But think for a minute how many times in the day we are confronted with opportunities for goodness or evil in the twinkling of an eye.

Do I:

Say something positive about a person or join in the litany of faults that others enjoy telling?

Watch something funny or human or beautiful on TV or search out programming with ultra violence, fear or lewdness?

Try to find something hopeful in a difficult situation or enjoy describing how terrible things are?

Do I wait for the smallest opportunity to “be offended” or do I take any personal slights as coming from someone whose day is probably harder than mine? Someone who needs my patience.

Do I take the old comfortable path of minimal effort or do I try to make something beautiful or excellent?

Do I give a person the benefit of the doubt or do I presume their motives are small and mean.

Do I enjoy getting angry and being hurt? or do I try (not always successfully!) to ignore or forgive?

Do I grab that parking spot or let someone else have it?

Do I enjoy a whining (“It’s just not fair!”) or do I try to point to what’s wrong in a way that people are invited to correct (“Why don’t we try this? Let’s try to make this better”)


Did you know that the light is more powerful than the dark? (Sometimes we wonder, don’t we?) Think about it though – what is darkness but the absence of light. Darkness is removed by lighting a light. Try that at home. Wait till dark. Make sure all the lights are out in the room. Then light a single candle. The entire room catches the light however dimly. See it flicker on the wall! Darkness has no power over light . . . so long as it shines.

“Dear God, help me to learn to love your Light. Help me to learn that I carry your Light. Oh God, use me to spread your Light.”

Bless you always,

Fr. Tim