The Power Of A Small Ritual


My state of mind is mostly scattered and distracted. A million thoughts shooting off in a million different directions, all travelling at the speed of light. I’m fragmented, disconnected and exhausted from living inside my own head. I cannot seem to be still for long enough to regain my equilibrium.

I need an action that grounds me. I need to do something physical that creates a space in which I can stop for a minute and breathe.

So I light a candle as a small act of defiance against the chaos.

The moment begins as the match is struck. A sudden crackle and flare in the darkness.

Jesus Christ, light of the world.

The flame catches the wick and the steady glow of candlelight begins to change the atmosphere. It softens sharp edges and dims distractions. Both my breathing and the time seem somehow slowed.

In Celtic Christianity, centring prayer is used as a practice to quiet the mind. A single word, which represents a person’s intention to draw close to God and be open to the divine, is chosen as a focus. If a person becomes aware of other thoughts, the word is simply returned to, like a North Star for the soul.

In a similar way, the single flame of a candle becomes a call to simplicity and concentration. It provides a focus point and an anchor. It creates a sacred space for a weary soul.

The moment is over when the candle is extinguished. An ordinary moment has been reframed, mind quieted, heart calmed, soul stilled.

Thanks be to God.



Photo credit: Betsy McIntyre