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A Candle prayer for Candlemas

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A Candle prayer for Candlemas

Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (cf St Luke 2:22-40).  St Sophronius wrote of this feast, ‘The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.’

Today’s feast is also known as ‘Candlemass’, as our candles are traditionally blessed on this day and it is, perhaps, a time to consider the place of candles as aids to prayer. We have a tradition of lighting ‘votive’ candles in our church but it’s one of those traditions which may seem a little odd – superstitious even – to visitors.

Those of us who have grown up in the church might also like to reconsider what it is we are doing when we light a candle in church. The action of lighting the candle and leaving it lit simply shows on the outside what we’re doing on the inside: praying. It also reminds us of the continuity of prayer in our lives, as the following prayer goes some way to demonstrate:

Lord, may this candle be a light

for you to enlighten me in my difficulties and decisions.

May it be a fire for you to burn out of me all pride, selfishness and impurity.

May it be a flame for you to bring warmth into my heart

towards my family, my friends and all who meet me.

Through the intercession of Mary, Virgin and mother,

I place in your care those I come to remember, especially…

Lord, I cannot stay here long with you. In leaving this candle, I wish to give you something of myself.

Please help me to continue my prayer into everything I do this day.

Amen.

Lighting a candle is a physical, outward expression of our inner raising of heart and mind to God. Both the candle and this particular prayer help us focus on what we are doing, but we can’t let that be the sum of our prayer. It’s handy when you only have one minute, yes, but there’s no listening, no adoration, no thanksgiving, no contrition.

At the next available opportunity yes, by all means, light a candle and spend some time in prayer, using the ‘candle prayer’ above if you like, but having lit that candle, we pray, ‘please help me to continue my prayer into everything I do this day’. Listen to Him, then: what is it that God is asking from you today?

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