What’s The Meaning of of Lighting A Candle in Catholic Church


Lighting a candle is one of the oldest praxis. In the early times, candles are used to illuminate the places where the early Christians celebrated Mass. But until today, candles are still lighted. So what's the meaning of lighting a candle in Catholic Church?

church candle.jpgLighting a church candle has a very strong symbolism meaning in catholic tradition. In Old Testament, oil lamp is lighted to”sustain a perpetual flame”. This is developed in New Testament: I am the Light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have light and life”. The early Christians not only see lighting candles as an act of devotion, but also see it as a symbol of communication with Christ and a symbol of Him.

Many individuals light a candle to symbolize their life as an offering, being burned up in service to God. Lighting a candle plays a very important role in most every part of Catholic celebrations of Mass, liturgical and funeral processions and prayer ceremonies. One is also lit before the Tabernacle to signify the Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament in the sanctuary.

Votive candles are used as a remembrance of the deceased, especially of our loved ones, and of those we hold dear. These candles are usually lit on All Sours’ Day, usually November 2 or November 1.

tealight candle.jpgWhen we light a candle before a relic, statue or icon, we want to show our desire to remain in God’s presence as we go through our daily duties at home and in the work place. When we light a candle before Christ’s image, it is done to show our reverence to Him who deserves our adoration and thanksgiving and who alone can forgive our sins and bring us back into a deeper relationship with Him.

For these different purposes, church candles may vary a lot from long, taper candles to tealight candles. Altar candles may be votive or taller and longer-lasting candles and may be in glass container. Tealight candle are either placed in holders or just on a platform in front of the statue.