Candle lighting

Most of the churches in France seem to have candles somewhere with a little shrine in which to light them and the same is true of the Tours Cathedral. I like the symbolism of lights as a symbol of warmth and hope, but since I am not very familiar with Catholicism, I wondered about the symbolism behind this ritual and whether the candles were usually lit to show repentance, to honour a certain saint or as representation of a prayer. This little prayer that accompanied the candles in this cathedral helped me understand the tradition of candle lighting a little better:

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May this candle that I burn be a light

So that you may enlighten me in my difficulties and my decisions

That it may burn

So that you may burn away all egoism, greed and impurity within me

I can not stay long here in your church.

This light that I leave to burn,

It’s a part of me that I want offer to you.

Help me to pray as I go about my daily activities.


I enjoy lighting candles, as I connect them with this same notion of light and purity. The next time I light one of my candles as I sit down to dinner, I will reflect a little on what it means to be a light to others and a source of warmth within their lives.


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