The Sign of the Candle
"I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life."
During the Easter Vigil, when the priest enters the dark church with the Easter candle, he recites or sings "Light of Christ", to which the faithful respond: "Thanks be to God". This song reminds us how Jesus came into our world of sin and death to bring us the light of God.
In the past times, the candles lit up the tombs of the martyrs. There is evidence that candles or oil lamps were lit in the tombs of saints and martyrs since year 200. The light represents our prayers offered in faith, which become the light of God. In the light of faith, we plead with our Lord with our prayers.
Another word used to refer to candles is: "Votive" and comes from the Latin "Votum”, which means promise, commitment or simply prayer. This reinforces the idea that candles represent our prayers before God.
As human beings, we have body and soul, and often our prayers must be expressed in a physical and tangible way. Let us not lit the candles because we believe that this is how God will listen better to our prayers, but because we need a visual element that connects our body and soul.