Spring is here and with it a familiar smell. Laden with memories of late night conversations, laughter and so much more, we begin from time to time, block to block, to smell barbecues alight once more! Friends from the south and from Texas will admonish, “They’re not real BBQ’s, all you have are ‘grills’…” In NY (where I come from), if you burn stuff and cook over it, it’s a BBQ. …’nuff said. And in DC it’s not just BBQ’s burning nowadays. Folks sit in their front gardens and back yards gathered around swiss chimneys, and firepits (which incidentally are not pits so much as elevated braziers, but again, I digress…).
All this pyro-centered social gathering has me thinking, examining the phenomenon through eyes of faith. In the Church, we’re still celebrating the Easter season. At our masses, the Easter (Paschal) Candle is still lit at all masses to remind us of the night when the light of Christ re-entered our experience at the end of Lent. During that ceremony on Holy Saturday night, the new Easter fire is kindled, the candle lit, and then – from the one flame – hundreds of others spread as the faithful light their individual baptismal candles from the Easter candle. The great hymn that captures all this has a great line, the flame is “divided but undimmed.” That’s the great quality of holy light and holy joy… it can be spread without diminishing its beauty.
Likewise with people of faith… we can spread out across a hundred block parties, BBQ’s, happy hours ’round the fire pit, you name it… and bring the fullness of Christ to each of those encounters divided but undimmed. He is present in our joy, our hope, our compassion and mercy for others and always our living of the Truth.
Pope St. Leo the Great said, “not in tis life, it is true, but only in eternity will God be all in all, yet even now he dwells whole and undivided, in his temple, the Church.” That goes not only for the whole Church across the globe… not only for each individual parish tabernacle… but also for each of the faithful who become living tabernacles on the day of their baptism and each time they receive the Eucharist at mass.
As the light of springtime festivities spreads across Washington, let’s bring the light of Christ, divided but undimmed to each of those encounters and show the world how brightly the Church shines with the glory of his light!