Advent: Lighting a Candle
When I started visiting people in detention every Thursday, lighting a candle soon became a habitual pattern before leaving my house. It has become my personal daily prayer, through which I am strongly convinced that the energy of ‘light’ will reach and comfort each person I visit. This has been an important task for me each day. By lighting a candle, I know I will be guided during my visit to be a listening presence and show a loving attentiveness to those I see. This is an ongoing learning attitude that is growing in me and challenging me. Each encounter with someone in detention has deepened and strengthened my faith in God and my commitment as a witnessing presence.
I remember Andreas*, who was released four months ago from an immigration detention centre. He was previously detained for a couple of months in different locations. He had a difficult journey to the UK seeking refuge, but life here has been very difficult for him. He became very ill and has been suffering from mental health issues too. After a few weeks staying with a friend at his house, he was evicted on the streets. He started sleeping rough and felt so lost.
Time and again, as we celebrate this Advent season, let us be mindful that when we light the Advent candle we remember Andreas and many others who are struggling to live their life, with our prayerful wishes and blessings of love, joy and peace. May this season brings God’s transforming light in our hearts through our encounter with the marginalised poor.
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