THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PASCHAL CANDLE AT EASTERTIDE; WHY DO WE USE CANDLES AT MASS AND OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATION?


INBOX QUESTIONS:

1. “Hello brother, I hope I’m not asking too much questions. Please what
is the significance of the use of candles in worship, after all we are in the
era of electricity which is stronger and brighter than candles. Thanks!”

2. “Good day
brother. Please what is the paschal candle and what does it signify?”
RESPONSE:
In order to attempt the question above, it is
apposite to give a little explanation on the importance of light itself in
worship; after which we shall come to see the importance of candles and the
Paschal Candle itself at Eastertide.
Light is Pure; it penetrates darkness;
it moves with incredible velocity; it nourishes life; it illumines all that
comes under its influence. Therefore it is a fitting symbol of God, the All
Pure, the Omnipresent, the vivifier of all things, the Source of all grace and
enlightenment. It represents also our Blessed Savior and His mission. He was
“the Light of the world,” (John 8:12l), to enlighten “them that
sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”(Luke 1:79; see also Matthew
4:16)
Having found ourselves in
the age of electrical power supply, we cannot jettison the use of candle in liturgical worship. This is so
because the wax has its symbolic meaning. The early Fathers of the Church
endeavored always to seek out the mystical significance of Christian practices,
and one of them thus explains the reason for the Church’s law requiring candles
to be of wax:
“The wax, being spotless, represents Christ’s most spotless Body; the wick
enclosed in it is an image of His Soul, while the glowing flame typifies the
Divine Nature united with the human in one Divine Person.”
As a follow up, a Paschal Candle is a special candle used during the Easter Season to
represent the resurrected Christ. During the Easter Vigil, this candle is lighted from a new fire and carried
into the darkened church by a deacon or priest. The darkness represents the
world without God, and the candle is the light
of God returning because of Christ’s resurrection. Then people following in
procession light small candles, tapers, off the large one which eventually
illuminates the church.  The candle, representing
Christ himself, is blessed by the priest who then inscribes in it a cross, the
first letters and last of the Greek alphabet, (Alpha and Omega `the beginning
and the end’) and the current year, as he chants the prayer below; then affixes
the five grains of incense. The five grains of incense inserted into the candle
in the form of a cross recall the aromatic spices with which His Sacred Body
was prepared for the tomb, and of the five wounds in His hands, feet, and side.
The Easter candle is lighted each day during Mass throughout the Paschal season
until the end of Eastertide.
This candle is also used at baptism and a funeral.
Paschal Candles have special decorations to indicate who is represented, which
is a symbol of Christ according to scripture.
With this, I believe we can
see every reason to maintain this holy tradition of the Church (the use of
candles) despite the fact that we find ourselves in the contemporary age of
electricity.
May the light of God continually illumine our minds and hearts in worship.  Amen

I hope this answers the
question…

Leave a Reply