On being a servant


“. . . ..  In the midst of the darkness, its (Easter Candle) soft glow will celebrate the victory of Christ’s life over death, the conquest of love over fear. The soft light of the Easter Candle invites us all to consider the way in which the light of the Resurrection dawns in the midst of the experience of our shadows.

I think of the parents, for example, who receive the trauma of a disabled child, and whose lives are never their own again, as they spend all their energy in the care of their child.  In their life, a light shines in the darkness

I think of the mother or father of a teenager who is discovered with a mental illness, and spends so many years in anxiety, never really resting, coping with the unpredictability of the condition. In their life, a light shines in the darkness of a question that resists its answer.

I think of the person whose own mother or father is aged and frail, and who turns their life upside down, as they commit to an unknown future caring for their parent – the person who forgets their own needs and spends many years in care of someone whom they love. In their life, too, a light shines in the darkness of anxiety

I think of the spouse who watches in agony as their partner falls victim to a dementia, and who stays awake, in so many hidden ways, day and night to enable the one falling ill with dignity.  Through their love, a light shines in the darkness of despair

I think of the person in a failed relationship, who despite the intensity of the hurt, refuses to extract vengeance on their partner, and who patiently and gently works for what might bring the most healing to all in the situation.  In their openness, a light shines in the darkness of bitterness

I think of Cecilia, a lady whom I knew in Melbourne, who lived off the streets, and who, despite her overwhelming poverty and staggering disability, always greeted me with such friendliness and cheeriness.  In her friendship, a light shone in the darkness of shame and isolation.

I think of those people who spend untold hours in a volunteer capacity for many different causes, raising money, giving of their time, often with no gratitude or acknowledgement, but only with the commitment to make lighter the suffering of others.  In their self-donation, a light shines in the darkness of our own selfishness.

In each of these persons a light shines in the darkness.

At the Easter Vigil surrounded by darkness, we celebrate that a light has shone.  We gather to proclaim the power of this light.  It is a light that shines in the darkness of our own self-preoccupation through the lives of those people who’s self-giving reflects God’s own self-giving to us.  We all know them.  They are not far from us.  They live in our parish.  They live in our streets.  They live in our neighbourhoods.  They are members of our own family.  They may even be us. In all these people, let us sing Christ Risen

— Fr David Ranson teaches at the Catholic Institute of Sydney