Last night I attended a lovely evening of reflection with a small study group held at Sophia House, our “satellite office” in Endicott, NY. The presenter forgot her matches so I foraged around the house and in the adjacent building and found nothing that could help us light the candle that was to be the centerpiece of our prayer table. Sensing the importance of the symbol, I was grateful to meet up with the janitor who led me to his office where he had not one but three long-nosed lighters. He gifted me with one which now will stay in my office for just such events.
As we travel through this season of Advent, lighting a new candle each week in church and/or at home, praying for the light of Christ to burn in our hearts, I am often reminded of a familiar story from those first monastics, the Desert Fathers and Mothers who understood our responsibility to become that light for the world that we say we desire.
Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace, and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?” The old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, “If you will, you can become all flame!”
So as we prepare for Christmas, in the midst of all that we do, why not have as our intention to increase our desire for God so that we do, indeed, become all flame?