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In the early hours of this morning, we had a power outage. By the time the household needed to get moving, electricity still hadn't been restored. It didn't help that it was raining too, nobody felt like getting out of bed... except my four year old who woke up way before her time and refused to go back to sleep.
I felt irritated for several reasons.. our halogen lamps refused to work, so we had to do everything by candlelight, which not only gave off poor lighting but posed a danger to our curious last daughter who is fascinated by flames. Because our water pump could not work there was no water to the upstairs bathrooms so we had to fill buckets and boil water on the stove to make it usable. I was upset because I had not ironed the night before as I usually do, so I didn't know how my husband's shirt would get ironed. Without the convenience of the microwave, electric kettle and toaster oven, getting breakfast on was a much more difficult task.
By the time I got in the car to drop my youngest daughter off to her montessori school, it was still raining and I felt like I'd done a full day's work. Her school sits on top of a hill, so we usually park at the bottom and use the steps set in the hill but I wouldn't be able to pass there with a big umbrella, so we climbed up the incline instead... a little more challenging, which added to my disgruntled state. As I descended though, I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow, which I wouldn't have seen if I'd taken the steps. It made me stop and a moment of clarity hit me.
A rainbow.. a sign of promise, God's covenant, a reminder that no matter how bad the storm is, the sun is going to shine again! I suddenly felt so ashamed for not rising this morning with a song of thanksgiving in my heart. I felt like God was saying, "Rejoice in the graces I have poured out on you and stop looking for negatives in situations" It was indeed a moment of grace.
Yesterday, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Candlemas or The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (see Luke 2:22-24). Traditionally, on this day, candles are blessed for the church's use during the year and candles are also brought by the faithful to be blessed for their own use. In some places there are processions where the blessed candles are lit and carried back to the church for the celebration of Mass. Our priest had shared some beautiful sentiments on the blessed candle which I had thought I would share on my blog. This morning's power outage and subsequent events seemed to be confirmation that I should.
Blessed candles are used in many of the rituals and sacraments in the church, from baptism straight through to the Funeral Rite. We light them in our homes too, at prayer time, for novenas and special intentions... we might light a candle when asking for a particular favour from God. One of the beautiful, old traditions Father spoke of was that a lit candle would be placed in the hand of, or near to, a dying person so that he/she may see the light and be reminded that they are returning to the bosom of Christ.
When we view a lit candle it reminds us that Christ, the Light of the World, is with us always. He illuminates us and we are called to let His light shine in us and through us. We are beacons to lead people to Jesus and our lives are supposed to be a reflection of Him.
As I reflected on all these things a sudden truth hit me. This morning, I could only find blessed candles to light. I had actually been surrounded by Grace this morning, but was too blind to see the Grace of God with me as those lights banished the little corners of darkness. I had been blinded by my irritation at the inconveniences rather than having a heart of gratitude that I can still get water on the ground floor, that I have a gas stove so I could boil water, cook and use the oven to toast bread. So many people have only electric appliances. I wonder what hardship they faced this morning.
Lord, forgive me for not seeing your abundance of grace, but the negative in situations. Help me to have a heart full of gratitude always and to allow your light to illuminate me, just as those candles illuminated my house this morning. May I have the fortitude and wisdom to rid myself of all that keeps me from being the light you call me to be.
Our own lights may be small, but we can illuminate our own little corners, filling them with warmth, peace and joy. This is what we are called to do. May your light shine brightly today and always and may God's grace and blessings be with you!
P.S. The picture above is a print my daughter gave me for Christmas. Isn't it gorgeous? It suits my blog so much that I wish I could use it as my background, but it IS copyrighted so I will not be able to, but I thought I'd share it with you nevertheless. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.