Spiritual Directors International

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Light a Candle, Dispel the Darkness

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

"It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness."
—Chinese proverb

Today, in the wee hours, I was reminded once again of how easy it can be to plug back into the Light. How important it is that we help one another reorient toward the good, the higher emotion, the life-affirming virtues that we carry within us, especially during challenging times.

Today, I am also grateful for a few dear ones who have asked for prayers because they are facing adverse situations right now. I am honored that they ask me to do this as a spiritual companion and friend.

So this morning I pulled out my "heavy duty prayer candle," for there was much to be prayed about. It is a perpetual candle, like those that are forever lit in the back of churches. I purchased it from a little Catholic store in my hometown. It has a purple glass casing and wax inserts that go inside and burns (safely) for seven days.

Then I retrieved a small prayer jar that I acquired from the Sisters of Saint Joseph. I cut rectangular strips of paper and wrote each person's name upon one, then placed each in the jar by the candle. Just their name, not what I may wish for them.

I refrain from putting my personal spin on their needs because I do not know what important life lessons they may need to learn right now through the disadvantage of their plight. Or what the Divine One is guiding them to, inviting them toward. I don't "ask" for a specific outcome for the prayer. That is not "my job" in this co-creative life. By lighting the candle and placing his or her name in the jar, I hold each one in thought, heart, and prayer. That is enough.

I also add a phrase of well-wishing:  “May your heart be at ease," a line from the Metta ("Loving-kindness") blessing sourced in Buddhism that serves as the capstone of my inter-spiritual life.

The lovely thing about this particular prayer ritual is that each time I walk by the room where the candle burns,I catch its glow, and remember my friends and the prayers they've requested. My own heart is lifted. I especially love seeing its warm glow in the dark of my house in the middle of the night. It reminds me that Spirit is ever-present.

These are not times to tarry long in the darkness. The world needs all the light we can provide. I often encourage those whom I companion in spiritual direction to light a candle. Light one regularly. Light one every day. Allow its glow to elevate any heaviness of heart you may feel. Allow this gentle act to grow remembrance in you about your unique spiritual connection. Let it help you lean into the Light once again.

And then, lest we forget, let us reach out to another and help him or her light theirs as well.

Janice Lynne Lundy is a spiritual director and mentor with an inter-spiritual focus, an educator, and the author of five spiritual growth books including, Awakening the Spirit Within and Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be. She serves as adjunct staff at Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, leading women’s contemplative programming and retreats, offering spiritual direction, and mentoring spiritual directors in training. Her life motto is “Believe, Breathe, and Be Well.”




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