Candle and mirror

I have not been able to switch over to putting my schedule online. I tried it for a year using Google calendar and I missed more appointments than I remembered. It just did not feel natural typing my schedule so I still carry a planner around with me. It is not one of those small weekly planners either.

About a year-and-a-half ago, someone recommended a startup company to me named Passion Planner. It not only has a the month at a glance and the week-by-week set up, but it has a spot to journal, monthly reflection questions, to-do lists and not-to-do lists. I use it for everything. It is my personal calendar, my school planner and my journal. Every week it also gives a quote for the week with a personal challenge. 

The quote for this week is, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” (Edith Wharton). This made me think of the moon. It shines brightly in our darkened sky because it reflects the light of the sun. It was made not to be the candle, but to be the mirror but its impact is still great. 

Imagine for a second a world where there was no moon to brighten up the night sky, a world where there was just darkness for a good portion of a day. We’ve seen those nights where we have storms and we cannot see the moon because of the clouds and how bleak that makes the night. But we know that the moon is there, just biding its time before it comes out to reflect the sun.

I think the same holds true for our lives. We all face those moments where we cannot see the light in the night sky. But like the moon, we know that there is a light in the darkness even if for a moment we cannot see it. And sometimes, we are that light in the darkness. 

Ever since I started working in ministry, I have been told and reminded that we cannot give what we do not have so if we are not in a relationship with Christ, then we are not sharing Christ. For us to bring Christ to what can often seem like a darkened world, we must first be connected to Him. It is like putting gas in our car. We must regularly fill our tank with fuel in order for our vehicles to go anywhere. We must regularly “fill up” on Christ through Mass, prayer, Confession and adoration in order to share the true Christ with others. In order to be the light of Christ in the world, we have to be connected to the source or close to the source to reflect its goodness.

I think of being the candle as the moments when we are most tied to Christ. The moments in our lives when things are going well and we are strong in our prayer lives and Mass attendance is consistent, we shine so brightly to the world around us. There are other times, however, that life takes a front seat and faith gets pushed back. It is in those moments that I think we become more of the mirror. And that is OK. If we find ourselves in the role of the mirror, we are still close enough to the source to be able to reflect its image. No matter how complicated or dark our lives become, as long as we can keep ourselves within mirror range of the God Who loves us, then we are still able to bring His light to the world around us. 

The challenge about being the candle is that we now become the image and the light that others sometimes reflect. This is a scary place to be. I was recently humbled by a huge compliment of one of the parents here at Stang. While it was such an enormous honor to be told this, it is also terrifying to be looked at in that way. To be the candle means we need to make sure that we are setting that right example. We need to be connected to Christ to shine the light and love of God to all we meet. 

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at

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