There is a centuries’ old tradition of distributing blessed candles on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2. If you received a candle from that celebration (or from a different source), what should you do with it?
First of all, the blessing included in the Roman Missal summarizes the spiritual symbolism of this sacramental.
O God, source and origin of all light,who on this day showed to the just man simeonthe light for revelation to the Gentiles,we humbly ask that,in answer to your people’s prayers,you may be pleased to sanctify with your blessing these candles, which we are eager to carry in praise of your name,so that, treading the path of virtue,we may reach that light which never fails.Through Christ our lord.
It is appropriate to leave the blessed candle in a prominent place in your home or on a prayer table. This reminds you of Jesus, light of the world, and invites you to prayer. Then when you devote time for personal or communal prayer in your home, you can light the candle to help you focus.
Candles provide a powerful spiritual ambiance, which even the secular world recognizes. They can calm the heart and open us up to the light of God.
Another way to use blessed candles is to bring them out during severe weather. Traditionally Catholics would always light the blessed candle during a strong storm, invoking the power of God to protect their home. And as is so often the case, Catholic spiritual traditions have a practical element: the candle will be useful if the power goes out.
Additionally, on account of their association with the “Light of the World,” blessed candles are a powerful sacramental to use against evil spirits prowling about. The devil lives in darkness, and so the light of the blessed candle invokes the power of God to keep the devil’s influence at bay.
Last of all, if you are not able to use the blessed candles because of fire codes, or simply because the candle is no longer usable, it is best to dispose of it properly:
Catholics are instructed to dispose of old sacramentals in a way that shows due reverence. All sacramentals can be either burned or buried in order to properly dispose of them. This type of disposal honors their sacred purpose and returns them to the earth in a dignified way. If a person is unable to do either, the sacramental may be dropped off at the parish office and someone on staff can take care of it.
Blessed candles can be saved and in some places, they are gathered together and melted down to create the Easter candle. This custom is not practiced everywhere, so please contact your local parish or monastery to see if they do it.
If you are looking for something to enhance your spiritual life, consider using blessed candles to enlighten your soul, bringing it out of darkness.
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Why do Catholics use candles at Mass?