Paschal candle: the light that frees us from darkness

Paschal candle: the light that frees us from darkness

The Christ-Light axiom is one of the most recurring in the Catholic religion. From the origins of the Liturgy, light from lamps and candles was used as symbol of light of the Resurrection of Jesus: a light, which can dissipate the darkness of the darkest night.

Firstly, God created light, and throughout the Bible, this is considered as a sign of God’s presence, and manifestation of His greatness.

But it was with Jesus that the symbolic value of light obtained its most important role.

Jesus speaks of himself as the true light, and of his disciples as the light of the world, which must “shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mt 5:16).

In particular, the great Paschal candle lit on the Easter Vigil, placed in the baptistery and brought in solemn procession, has itself a strong symbolic value.

In the darkness that characterizes the Easter Vigil, the Paschal candle is lit by the priest in order to enlighten the dark abyss where men wander, deprived of light and hope for new life. This weak flame is needed to revive the hope to the faithful ones. In the glow of the blessed candle, the faithful ones recognize themselves as the children of light, in communion with God and with their brothers. The light from these candles, and in particular the one from the Paschal candle, affects everyone present with the splendor of Christ rising from the darkness of death and defeating the evil.

The night, no longer dark but illuminated by the presence of Christ, is filled with songs of joy and hope. Every guilt is washed, every sin forgiven, in this common rebirth.

The Paschal candle should be at the center of all celebrations for the fifty days of Easter. It will be consumed, just as Jesus was “consumed” before God, by the love for men, sacrificing himself completely. His sacrifice is renewed every year by the burning of this symbol of salvation and redemption;  the smoke, going up to the sky, reminds the rise of the One who came back from the dead, to bring light and peace to men until the end of time.