By Deacon Gregory M. Kirk
St. Joseph Catholic Church Galion
Numbing cold air rushes around me as I insert my key into the church door. Entering the foyer, the wind howls, reminding me that His Spirit blows through creation with purpose, bringing love and power to His people.
Threading my way through the dark, I move toward the votive candle stand that rests above the altar steps, under the statues of the Holy Family, ruminating on the reality that this is representative of living the spiritual life. Walking carefully through a beautiful world, touched by darkness, to the safe harbor of His light.
Touching a taper to the burning wick of a lit votive, I use the new flame to light another candle, and begin to announce to God the names of the people who have asked for prayers – the sick, the lonely, the grieving, the addicted, the persecuted – the list is a long one. The Body of Christ is one.
After remembering the people I came here to pray for, and asking for them to be blessed and healed, I share my own personal intentions, making the words of David the Psalmist, my own:
“The Lord is my light and salvation- whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
(From Psalm 27)
When I have finished interceding, and petitioning, I am mindful that it is time to be quiet, that the Lord has something to share with me. In the space of holy silence, I am overwhelmed by the small, flickering light of the votive candles before me, in the large dimension of the darkened church. In a way I can’t begin to explain, God speaks to the deepest part of who I am. He whispers: “All of the darkness of the world could not overcome or extinguish the Light of My Son. Christ is the Light Who pierced the darkness. He and His Light are with you. Forever.”
After turning the key in the church door lock, and walking down the steps to my car, I move through the night, a dark, cold night, knowing that my prayers will reverberate before our God, long after the beeswax of the candle I lit has been consumed. The God who knew us, even our names, before we were born, the God who knows the number of hairs on our heads, cares for us and walks with us, in all things, in everything. If we live and hope in Him, we are never alone. And we are not our own. We belong to Him. He is our light and our salvation. Always.