I had the gift and privilege to be at the local Eucharistic Congress last night in Boston. It’s really for young adults, and with my grays I’m past that age, but I was invited in by one of the organizers. Plus, I can’t miss an hour of adoration with the Cardinal and then a Eucharistic procession through the North End of Boston. So I went.
So what is a Eucharistic procession? It’s when the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist is carried by a priest in a monstrance down a path with a bunch of people following in prayer. Yesterday was a beautiful and powerful experience to follow the Lord with the Cardinal and about 300 others through the streets of Boston’s “Little Italy”. At a few spots, everyone would kneel and adore for a short time. We each had a little candle, and we sang as we followed along the way.
But it was a windy night. And candles can go out with the slightest gust, right? It was not a good night for keeping a candle lit.
So, we walk out of the church into the night and turn a left, right away into a steady gale. Left and right, candles were being extinguished. But as fast as they were going out, people were helping each other re-light them. Then came a calm spot. Then we went around a corner, and a sudden burst of wind shot out. Lights going out everywhere. Even my friend Mel, who I thought had his light so well guarded, poof – out it went. It went on and on like that the whole way.
Sometimes I found a light from someone else, sometimes I gave a light. Sometimes I had to search for someone who had a light. Sometimes I looked around to help someone who didn’t have a light. I can’t count how many times my own candle went out and then was re-lit. As we followed the Lord in the way together, we adored, sang – and tried to keep our lights lit. And when we finally got to the last church, our lights were lit. We got there – together.
If you say yes to following Jesus, it will be out into a dark way, where there is a strong wind. There will be distractions and temptations and fears and doubts. And you will have a little light. Now I’ll tell you, even though you guard your light as well as you can, the wind will at some point reach it and put it out. It will be impossible to keep it lit on your own.
Now I bet you’re thinking, this guy’s not a good salesman. How would anyone survive? Why would anyone take up an offer like that?
Here’s why: when you are His disciple, you are not alone.
“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” (Jn 13:35)
For us Christians, it’s our love for one another that keeps our lights lit along the way. Even though the wind is strong and the way is dark, when the journey is ended, your light will be lit.
We will get there – together.