Contemplate it – the sanctuary lamp in your church…it is the silent friend of Jesus and of all Eucharistic souls.
The evening shades have fallen. The church is empty; there is no longer anyone kneeling before the tabernacle; but in God’s dear house that little lamp sheds its mild rays in all directions. Gently it lights up the tiny tabernacle door. It almost seems as if it were pleading for entrance there, in order that thus it might be permitted to say to the Divine Recluse within: “See, You are not alone – I watch with You.”
When the faithful, having satisfied their need of prayer and love, leave the sacred edifice and go their various ways, returning to life’s daily cares and struggles, the sanctuary lamp seems to give then this farewell as they cast one last lingering glance back at God’s altar throne: “Go faithful souls, return to your toil, your sweat and perhaps tears await you; I will remain here; and in your name I will keep watch for you.”
What is a church, be it large or small, without a sanctuary lamp? Is it not like a body without a soul? When entering a church a Catholic instinctively lets his eyes roam over the sanctuary in search of that tiny flame of light; and if he finds it not, he seems to hear in the depths of his heart a little voice that is cold and disappointing: “Your Savior is not here!” It may be that rare treasures of art are gathered together there; but of what avail are the greatest masterpieces of the painter’s brush or the sculptor’s chisel if the beams of this dear light do not fall upon them? The art of man may indeed cross the threshold of our sacred edifices; it may exert all its skill for the glorification of God and the beautifying of our churches; but if this trembling light does not cast its magic rays upon them, not even the greatest genius can infuse into the marble its proper expression or give true life to the canvas.
Little sanctuary lamp, you are for me as the eye of divine love, which penetrates to the very depths of my soul, searches out its every secret, conquers my heart, and awakens its tenderest emotions! You are always, silent, and yet – how eloquent you are!
(From Eucharistic Whisperings)