Thursday, December 17, 2020

Light a Candle in the Dark

At the conclusion of the celebration of the Eucharist for the Alliance for Catholic Education's faculty and staff today, Fr. Lou Delfra, C.S.C. offered the following words of encouragement: 

It is an act of faith and hope to join Mass via Zoom. You are lighting candles in the dark.

I get that we are not meant to celebrate Mass on a screen. This is not how it is supposed to be. Masses via Zoom, or social media, or television, from the comforts of my own home, isolated and separated from the other icons on the screen representing real people, muted so that only my family and my basement walls can hear me, it would be easy to just ditch the whole enterprise. 

Like a store-bought cupcake or microwave popcorn - they are never as good as the homemade versions and they leave a film in your mouth in their wake - it might be easier to think that it would be better to fast from Mass until we can return to normal.    

But, it is an act of faith and hope to join Mass via Zoom. 

It is like lighting a candle in the dark. 

I have been fortunate enough to return to in-person Mass a few times since the pandemic began. I will say that even that might cause some people to throw in the towel. There's music but you can't sing... 

Okay, that one isn't much different in many Catholic churches. Now people just have an excuse. But, for me, that is huge. I remember the first time we returned to in-person church this fall, I caught myself a few times singing along out of habit. During those songs that I was able to abstain, my heart ached to sing. 

No exchange of peace. Communion only under one species. Wearing masks. 

But, it is an act of faith and hope to join Mass during a pandemic and to put up with the various restrictions for the health and safety of the entire community. 

It is like lighting a candle in the dark. 

May we have the courage, hope, and faith to keep lighting them. May our efforts to participate in Mass virtually, to show up in person and endure the restrictions, fill this dark world with the light of Christ. 

Every time you read the Bible, every time you perform an act of mercy, every time you sacrifice for the sake of another, every time you offer kindness when a different response may be both merited and desired, every time you stand up for those who cannot do so, speak for those with no voice, and advocate for those with no one to champion them, you are lighting a candle in the darkness. 

During the prayer after Communion from Mass today, Fr. Lou prayed the following words: 

May these mysteries, O Lord, in which we have participated, profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures.

As long as we have to and by whatever means available to us, may we hold fast to what endures. May we continue to attend Zoom Mass, or watch via social media, or television, or show up to a modified version in person. 

Jesus is teaching us, even amid the passing things of this world, to love the things of heaven. 

Let us keep lighting the candles of faith and hope amid the darkness so that we can see Him who is the way, the truth, and the life. 

Let 'em shine.