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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.  

  

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 February 25, 2021

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what...

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February 25

 

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and
reject what you don't like,
it is not the gospels that you believe,
but in yourself.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

  
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Tarasius of Constantinople

The emperor became enamored of Theodotah, a maid of his wife...

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St. Tarasius of Constantinople

Tarasius was born around the middle of the eighth century. Raised in a patrician family, Tarasius was surrounded by earthly wealth and possessions, but lived a most austere and holy life. His virtue gained the esteem of the empire, and Tarasius was made Patriarch of Constantinople.

The emperor of the time, Constantine VI, became enamored of Theodotah, a maid of his wife, and sought to divorce his wife and marry her maid. As he strove to convince Tarasius to marry him to Theodota, the emperor sent a message to the holy man. Tarasius adamantly refused, replying to the emperor's ambassador, “I would rather suffer death and all manner of torments than consent to his design." He continued to reject the emperor’s requests, and the ceremony was performed by another.

Just before his death, Tarasius fell into a trance. As his biographer, who was an eyewitness, relates, he was heard arguing with a number of unseen accusers. Tarasius defended himself against the accusers, and answered everything laid to his charge. Later, a great peacefulness came over him, and Tarasius gave up his soul to God in 806.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all hi...

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Our Lady Rewards the Public Use of the Rosary

Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he would hang a large rosary on his belt and always wear it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged everyone to say the Rosary very devoutly.

One day he fell seriously ill and was given up for dead. He found himself, in a vision, before the judgment seat of Our Lord with many devils accusing him of his sins and Our Sovereign Judge about to condemn him to hell. But Our Lady appeared to intercede for him. She called for a pair of scales and had his sins placed in one of the balances and the rosary he had always worn on the other, together with all the Rosaries that had been said because of his example. It was found that the Rosaries weighed more than his sins.

Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said, "As a reward for this little honor you paid me in wearing my Rosary, I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son. Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend them wisely and do penance."

When the King regained consciousness he cried out, "Blessed be the Rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!"

Having recovered his health, he spent the rest of his life spreading devotion to the Holy Rosary and said it faithfully every day.

People who love the Blessed Virgin should follow the example of King Alphonsus so they too may win other souls to say the Rosary. They will receive great graces on earth and eternal life. "They that explain me shall have life everlasting." [1] Ecclus. 24:31

Adapted from Saint Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary (Hanover, Pa: America Needs Fatima, 2008), 12.

 

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Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he would hang a large rosary on his belt and always wear it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged everyone to say the Rosary very devoutly.

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