There is a ritual on Holy Saturday night that never fails to move me to tears. After burning a bonfire outside and lighting the Pascal Candle, the congregation enters the dark church. The main celebrant carries this symbol of Christ's death and Resurrection. lowering it so an altar server can light his own candle. From this single candle, the light spreads as each person turns to light other candles near him.
Quickly the church is suffused in a warm light, comforting candle light. All is quiet as the priest slowly walks up the aisle to the main altar, chanting the ancient words,
"Christ is the light of the world"
The Easter Vigil is a powerful dramatization of the power of light and love to banish darkness from our world. Because what is darkness but simply an absence of light. The more people attending the service, the brighter the church. The flame is passed in peace and good will to everyone.In the same way, every personal act of love is always connected to the global community because every action is like lighting a tiny flame which brings a bit more light and warmth into society.
The state of the global community cannot be blamed on others because society is not some vague, esoteric entity that cannot be changed. Real, living, breathing people make up society. They can decide to affect humanity by loving each other, especially the weak, unborn or elderly as much as they love themselves. Each personal act of kindness affects all of humanity just as each act of violence and death weakens the fabric of society and strikes at the core of each man, woman and child.
Mother Theresa understood this basic truth when she said,