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How the Light of the World will never dim

PUBLISHED: 15:42 02 April 2018

Clergy carry the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Mass, at Westminster Cathedral in 2013. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Clergy carry the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Mass, at Westminster Cathedral in 2013. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Archant

The Easter Candle is a sign of the light of hope for Christians that is never dimmed.

Yesterday we celebrated Easter, the greatest feast of the Christian year, which is why, by long tradition, we are given an extra day off in this country today.

On Easter Sunday Christians remember that Christ rose from the dead and they celebrate his Resurrection with special services, culminating with the Easter Vigil, on the eve of Easter Day.

I was once told a story about a group of persecuted Christians, I think in one of the Eastern Bloc countries. The priest who was with them was given two minutes to speak about why anyone should think his faith was important.

He didn’t need two minutes, because all he said, or rather sang, was, ‘Christ has risen.’

He could have said a lot more, but, in a nutshell, that is all there is to say. Christ came to lead everyone back to God, not just the people of his time, but every human being of every time, including our own.

Because Christ went through death to life, there is hope for everyone. Death is not the end for any of us; we will all rise to life again and we are all given the opportunity to live with Christ in eternity.

The large Easter candle, which can be seen in many churches, is lit at the Easter Vigil mass, on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. This candle is a powerful sign, a symbol which can speak to everyone, because we are all attracted to the light.

The candle points to Christ as the light of the world, a light to enlighten everyone and to attract everyone.

Christians remember the Resurrection above all at Easter, but there are many other occasions for thinking about this feast and what it means for us.

Every time we pass a church or see a church tower in the distance it can be a reminder that Christ is risen. Just as the Easter candle inside a church draws the eye and makes us want to come closer, so church towers act as focal points outside. They draw us in.

And just as the Easter candle is a symbol of hope, so church towers, too, can remind us that we all have a future, also beyond this life.

The message of hope and of joy that comes with the feast of the Resurrection is not just for Easter Day and the holiday we have today, but for every day of our lives.

Anita Dowsing is a Roman Catholic writer.

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