A Spark, a Flame, a Fire

Have you ever played with sparklers? Those hand-held fireworks that burn slowly – you can even use them to write words in the air using a camera with long exposure. The sparks can be really attractive. While some burn with a tinge of green or red, and others still with a whistling sound, they do give off much smoke and can smell pretty bad.

And what about candles? Have you ever tried to pass your hand or finger through the flame of a burning candle with the thrill of not getting burned? Have you seen anyone do it before? It usually leaves a black char on my finger – not that you should try it, but it leaves the rest of your hand uncharred and pretty much unharmed. I would NOT suggest trying it with a bigger flame, like a campfire.

What about fires? Have you ever sat in front of a campfire or a fireplace or even during barbeques and watched how the flames dance and flicker about the wood? I think people do this mostly during the winter and during summer camps.

There is just something so alluring and attractive about the flames. The way they dance about, raging upwards, consuming the wood hungrily, turning into a bright amber. During winter, fires attract people for the warmth it gives out. In the dark, fire is useful for the light it gives off.

Yet these fires can be big, and when uncontrolled they can destroy forests, houses and even cause death.

Isn’t it interesting how flames can be so attractive, yet so dangerous? They light up the path for us and give us warmth, but they can also consume and harm us.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5: 14-16

We are all called by God to be a light to the world. By virtue of our Baptism the life of God, the life of grace, is in us. Do we let it shine brightly in our lives? Are we ashamed of being Catholic? Of being a light to others?

The life of grace in us attracts. The more grace we have in us, the more virtues we possess, the more we become bearers of the light of Christ, the more Christ can work through us to reach out to his people.

My dear friends, this is the role of being a light to the world.

The life of Charity in us gives warmth to souls in this cold world, devoid of self-giving and full of selfishness. The more Christ is in us, the more light of Charity we bear, the more warmth of love we will be able to give–not because we have the capacity, but because it is Christ Jesus who does it, in us and through us.

Yet the same light that attracts to provide heat also attracts to shine and give light especially to those who are in darkness and who cannot see where they are or the way to go. In this world full of lies, impurity and greed, many shun the light and often attack it. They don’t want to change. Their eyes are comfortable in convenience and their eyes find more comfort in the darkness.

The way we shun the glare of the light when we first wake up in the morning is same way these souls shun the glare of even the smallest spark or flame.

Be not discouraged then when you are attacked or suffer embarrassment from friends and family – even if you’re left alone at school, in the canteen, or eat lunch without your friends… take heart!!

May Our Lady’s mantle cover you like glass that protects a flame. Clothe yourself with humility, too, so that your light of Life and Grace may never waver in the whirlwinds of today’s world. Be brave bearers of light in the currents of darkness. In this way, with God’s help, patience and perseverance, you’ll help bring souls into the light.

Take heart, my friends!! Take heart!!