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The Sanctuary Lamp

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I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12)

 

The wisdom and beauty of the Holy Catholic Church are marvelously expressed through a universe of symbols.

Consider the sanctuary lamp. In every church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, the eye meets that suave flickering flame, indicating the Real Presence.  

 

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What does the silent sanctuary lamp calmly say to the soul? What does it symbolize?

The warmth of its welcoming flame draws us closer to Our Lady and Our Lord. As if held aloft by Angels, the lamp is suspended, not attached to this earth, preparing souls to receive Divine grace. Its subtle light envelopes the faithful, creating a state of spirit in which all Catholic souls feel united.

At the same time, the wick burns serenely, spending itself to the point of destruction, offering itself to God, which symbolizes sacrifice.

The sanctuary lamp creates a pleasing and temperate atmosphere adequate to man. Its subtle light enhances the church and is not even slightly overpowering.

The flame's panoply of discrete shadows projects a respectful warmth and depth. It has nothing in common with the frenzied lights of a discotheque or the cold neon lighting prevalent today.

For the sake of contrast, imagine a neon light in place of the sanctuary lamp. The mere thought causes unrest. The harsh neon light destroys shadows.

 

What else does the sanctuary lamp say to the soul?

Imagine a dark church illuminated by a single sanctuary lamp. When a church is empty and Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is alone, the lamp pays homage to its Creator. The flame keeps constant vigil, like a faithful soul who kneels before God in adoration while so many abandon Him or turn against Him.

If the light could speak, it might say this: "I remain faithful. I am Thine, O Lord. Although I am the least of men, I belong to Thee, I exist for Thee alone. In the worst uncertainty, in the worst isolation and darkness, I will follow Thee come what may. I am confident that my fidelity means something to Thee."

The dominant note of the lamp speaks of the relationship between Creator and creature, Redeemer and redeemed. It is a resting place for the Catholic soul. Like three bells in perfect harmony, it echoes Our Lord's words: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 22, 2019

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember...

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September 22

 

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little.
Remember that he of whom you are speaking
is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation,
God can make him a saint,
in spite of his present weakness.

St. Thomas of Villanova


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Thomas of Villanova

When the emperor discovered his secretary had written the na...

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St. Thomas of Villanova

Thomas was born in Castile, Spain in 1488. His family was not wealthy, but his father’s work as a miller allowed the family to be charitable and generous towards the poor. He was sent to school at the University of Alcala at the age of sixteen, where he threw himself enthusiastically into his studies and, ten years later, became professor of philosophy.

In 1516 he joined the Augustinian Friars at Salamanca and was ordained a priest two years later. He eventually became prior in several houses of the Augustinian Order, notably Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid. When Don Jorge, the Archbishop of Valencia, resigned, the emperor did not offer Thomas the see because he knew the high position would be a grievous trial for the humble friar-priest. Instead, the emperor nominated a religious of the Order of St. Jerome. However, when the emperor discovered his secretary had written the name of Brother Thomas of Villanova on the letter of nomination, he took it as a sign from God and appointed Thomas bishop. The year was 1545.

Thomas immediately began to restore the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was deeply committed to the poor, established care for orphans and convinced the emperor to provide funds to organize priests for service among the converted Moors who had lapsed back into their old religion for lack of a shepherd.

Renowned for his personal charity, sanctity and austerities, Thomas was eventually consecrated archbishop. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent supporter of the Reformation against the Lutheran heresy.

Thomas of Villanova died in 1555 of angina at the age of sixty-seven. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII on November 1, 1658.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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