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Trouble with Candles

Several weeks ago, my three oldest sons had the privilege to serve for the Stations of the Cross.  One carried the crucifix and the other two book-ended with candles.

altar servers with candles and crucifix for stations of the cross
Brix boys serving for Stations of the Cross. Proud Catholic mom moment!

The 4 of them made it safely to the 7th Station at the back of the church.  I had a clear shot of them because I was hanging out in the back with baby John.  As they got closer to the back, I noticed that one of my sons had a special fascination with the flame.  He held it at face level and watched with fascination as it responded to his breathing.  It moved away from him with every breath out, and closer with every breath in.

As we began the verse of “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” after the 7th Station, and they started moving to the next station, the flame went out.  That meant, that he stood watch with his flameless candle for the next 6 Stations!

The following week two of my sons served for the Faith Formation Stations.  I felt it was my duty to lecture him and instruct him to be more careful.  I explained how serious of a role he was playing in leading our community in prayer, blah, blah, blah.

“Mom, don’t you think I know?” he sassed back at me.

Ok, sounds like he won't make the same mistake twice. Whew.

This time he let out a sigh, which blew out that poor candle on the SECOND STATION.  Seriously???

Because it was so early on in the service, I snuck over to the Faith Formation director and asked her if she could re-light it.  They safely processed down the aisle and made it all the way back up to the 13th Station and out it went AGAIN.

Let’s fast-forward to Holy Saturday.  The boys had practice that morning, to ensure that the 2-hour vigil mass would run smoothly.

I asked the liturgist to NOT allow this particular son of mine to carry up the Paschal candle.  I explained his track record and made a joke about how Easter would be ruined if he blew that candle out!

Thankfully, she heeded my request and the beautiful vigil progressed smoothly and prayerfully. 

Until we hit the one-hour mark. 

It was about then that we had finished up all of the readings. We joyfully sang the Alleluia together for the first time in weeks, and I could feel my heart swelling with the Easter promise.

Easter Candle at Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday
Paschal Candle

My candle-killing son, and one of the other servers, grab the processional candles and process over to the ambo for the gospel.  No big deal, right?  It’s only a few minutes, he should be just fine. 


He ends up standing right next to the Paschal candle!

There is something you should know about this sweet son of mine.  He struggles with spatial awareness, and to make matters worse, he appeared oblivious to the towering Easter candle mere inches from his right shoulder.

 He leaned over at one point and the greenery at the base of the candle started moving.  He shifted his weight from foot to foot and before we knew it, the Paschal candle was swaying!!  One wrong move and my biggest fear would come true!

My anxiety was through the roof as I tuned out the gospel being proclaimed and started praying impromptu petitions.

“Jesus, please keep the Easter Candle safe!" 

"I beg of you to protect it from falling!" 

"Angels, surround the candle and keep it standing!”  I begged from my pew on the other side of the church.

You can imagine my relief when the gospel was over, and he walked away from the candle with everything intact.  The weight of the world fell from my shoulders as I exhaled, knowing the Paschal Candle was safe from harm.

It’s kind of interesting because that morning, the liturgist mentioned that there is a special little votive candle that is also lit from the bonfire with the Easter Candle that someone safeguards in the event that the big candle goes out during the vigil.  She said it was more common than you would think that it is needed!  Who knew?

I love the symbolism there.  The Catholic Church has seen so many ups and downs in her 2000-year history.  There have been times when it has seemed like the light of Christ has gone out, but in those moments, it is hidden, safeguarded from the threats that come against the Church.

Is that not true in our own lives as well? When all seems lost, Hope is still there.


Until next time, your sister in Christ,




*My son gave me permission to use this story and told me to say that he had a cold and couldn’t breathe well, and that’s why his candle kept going out. 😊 But he too now chuckles about it and has a great attitude.

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