As Christians our duty and our joy is lighting candles in a very dark world. In the 1950’s, Father James Keller of the Christophers used to end late night TV, right before the station signed off the air, with the message:
“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
As the world we live in gets darker by the minute with its embrace of so-called “homosexual marriage,” embryonic stem cell research, the spreading of big lies by the media, abortion, assisted suicide, human cloning, genetically modified food, pornography, blasphemy, fornication, adultery, etc., real Americans and real Christians need to start lighting candles by the thousands. Satan loves the darkness and hates the light. Just like a small lit match in a dark cave illuminates the whole cave, just so, when we as individuals perform good deeds in the name of Christ, we light up our neck of the woods, which drives the evil one away.
The False Light
The Bible says that Satan can come disguised as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). This wicked deception (2 Thessalonians 2:10) is happening before our very eyes in Washington, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and Wall Street. It is fostered by apostate leaders of the Church in Germany and even in the Vatican. Today is the day and this is the place to quit cursing the darkness and to start fighting back against Satan’s false light of worldliness and modernism in the Church by lighting our own candles. Our goal should be to be like the Blessed Virgin Mary, who FULLY reflects the light of Christ onto a very dark world.
Satan can outwit us every time, if we just use our own way of thinking, because he has a superior intellect and he sees and hears everything we do, while we cannot see him. He remembers everything we’ve ever done, and he knows our moral weak points like we know our own name. But we will beat him EVERY time when, instead of using our own will power and intellect, we use the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession. Seeking her intercession increases our faith in Christ, which then causes our own selfish pride (the devil’s original sin) to melt away, and thus jump-starting our hearts to love everyone sacrificially and to forgive our enemies, Why? Because Satan does not have a heart and he doesn’t know how to love anybody or anything except himself. It is not enough just to be a “good person,” because God doesn’t want good people, he wants “soldiers for Christ.”
How to Light Candles in the Dark
We can light candles in the dark world by increasing the numbers of rosaries we say, by going to Eucharistic Adoration more frequently, by having more humility (putting God first and others second, before our own personal needs), by doing more sacrificial giving of our time/talent/treasure, by attending more daily Masses with increased reverence for the sacrifice of Jesus, by praying more frequently from the heart, by having more physical contact with the poor, by visiting the sick and the dying in nursing homes regularly, etc. Colossians 1:10 says that good works are the fruit of our faith. Every good work that we do for the love of Jesus is not only a good fruit, but is also a very brightly lit candle.
More on Father James Keller of the Christophers
But getting back to Father Keller, he was a great Maryknoll priest, born in 1900 AD, who evangelized through the media. He was the founder of the Christophers, a religious order which emphasized the encouragement of people of all ages, and from all walks of life, to use their God-given talents to make a positive difference in the world. He believed that each person has a God-given mission to fulfill, a particular job to do that has been given to no one else.
“Love and truth come to us through God,” he said, “but these gifts are not ours to keep. By sharing them with others each of us becomes a Christ-bearer, a “Christopher” in the most fundamental sense of that word.”
Father Keller knew a lot of movie stars, and he urged them to make movies that would inspire the average person watching the movie to go out into their corner of the world and make it a better place. He even made a movie in 1950 called “You Can Change the World!” Sadly, today, a lot of movies emphasize the normalization of sinful sex and violence, which creates the opposite effect in most movie goers.
The Theological Virtue of Hope
Father Keller was a great fan of the theological virtue of Hope. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about Hope:
1817 Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” “The Holy Spirit poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”
1818 The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
Father Keller Quotes on Hope
Here are some of Father Keller’s quotes on this great virtue:
• Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst.
• Hope opens doors where despair closes them.
• Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot.
• Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of mankind.
• Hope “lights a candle” instead of “cursing the darkness.”
• Hope regards problems, small or large, as opportunities.
• Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism.
• Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks.
• Hope pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit.
• Hope puts up with modest gains, realizing that “the longest journey starts with one step.”
• Hope accepts misunderstandings as the price for serving the greater good of others.
• Hope is a good loser because it has the divine assurance of final victory.
More Father Keller Quotes
Some of Father Keller’s other great quotes, from his book “Light in the Darkness”:
“When you accept a position of responsibility, don’t be surprised by the troubles, problems, disappointments, and misunderstandings that go with it. Such trials are the penalties of leadership. Far from being disheartened by hardship, regard it as a badge of honor. It is usually the best possible proof that you are on the right track.”
“Christ reminds us constantly that every person without exception has a mission to fulfill. That mission is to bring the light and warmth of His love to the world: ‘Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.’ (Matthew 5:16)”
“Jesus alone founded his empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for him. Forcing none, Christ taught in a new way, the only one throughout history whose whole school and whole plan were founded on love. The world had never before heard of this love. And even now, twenty centuries later, more than half the world is still ignorant of it. Often Jesus seems to lose, but in reality He always wins — and always by love. ‘I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.’ (John 13:34) O GOD, I WANT TO LOVE YOU AS YOU WOULD HAVE ME LOVE.”
“Greatness of outlook and purpose can inspire anyone to reach beyond the narrow confines of a kitchen, factory, or office and contribute to the common good of all. God blesses bigness of vision. Those who truly strive, even in an insignificant way, to bring His love and truth to all men realize that they are truly trying to build a new world. ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.’ (Mark 16:15)”
“Each person is needed. Many people will quickly abandon the feeling that they do not count and will lead forceful, worthwhile lives once they realize how much their pinpoint of light is needed. With it, they can pierce the gloom and raise the standards of public and private life.”
“The expression, ‘man with a mission’, appears occasionally in newspapers and magazine articles. It is a fit reference to a person who manages to keep his ideals high, his goal big, his vision clear, and who displays dogged determination in putting his convictions to work.”
“The word ‘pawn’ is defined in Webster’s dictionary as ‘the chessman of least value … also, figuratively, an insignificant factor,’ as ‘a pawn in the political game.’ Even if you are not a chess player, you probably have heard people refer to themselves as helpless pawns which don’t count and can be pushed around without having anything to say about it. But too often this is the fault of the individuals themselves. They lead completely passive lives, willing to be nudged here and there by the opinions and pressures of others.”
“Through prayer and good works during the time left, I can do penance for my imperfections and prove that I am truly sorry for any and all of my offenses against a loving God:
• by increasing my prayers for the work of The Christophers, for numerous intentions involving the eternal salvation and human well-being of many friends and acquaintances, as well as the poor people of the earth;
• by accepting cheerfully the handicap of my physical ailments;
• by welcoming rather than evading any suffering that the Lord allows to come my way;
• by trying to be of greater service to mankind through working for The Christophers;
• by striving to bring joy, not gloom, into the lives of others; by avoiding all forms of self-pity;
• by fulfilling more devotedly all daily spiritual exercises;
• by endeavoring to be so conscientious that I may be under all circumstances a humble witness of the holiness, devotion, generosity, detachment and purity that most people associate with a good priest;
• by continually thanking God for the countless blessings I have received from Him throughout my life;
• by recalling frequently St. Paul’s reminder: ‘By God’s favor you were saved. This is not your own doing, it is God’s gift.’
• by faithfully living up to the spiritual goals set by the prophet Micah: ‘This is what the Lord asks of you, only this ‒ to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Let’s do This!
Father Keller died on February 9, 1977, but his legacy lives on in those who prefer to light candles in our sick society rather than to curse the darkness of the biased TV “news,” devious politicians, and demented Hollywood “stars.” So get involved with a church organization like the St. Vincent de Paul Society or the Legion of Mary, and let’s get those wicks burning brightly!