Order of Malta


An Advent Reflection


By Frá Nicola Tegoni

Advent begins on December 3rd. According to tradition, a wreath with 4 candles marking the weeks remaining until Christmas is installed in every Church. The four candles represent the 4 Sundays of Advent and one is lit every Sunday.

I would like to begin this season of Advent by reflecting on the story of Paulo Coelho’s 4 candles. The story tells us that in a church the 4 candles burned slowly and communicated with each other. The first candle said: I am Peace, but people don’t want me. Too many wars. I’ll shut down. And so it was. The second candle said: I am Faith. I’m useless because people don’t want me. I’ll shut down. And so it was. Full of sadness, the third candle said: I am Love, but people do not consider me, they prefer hatred. I’ll shut down.

A child entered that dark church and started crying saying: don’t shut down candles, I’m afraid of the dark. Then the fourth candle responded: don’t cry child. As long as I, who am Hope, remain lit, we will always be able to relight the other three candles.

This legend makes us reflect on the meaning of the four candles. Faith and hope are two of the theological virtues that together illuminate our earthly path. With peace and love they are the symbol of the fundamental values ​​of life.

In this period of Advent, let us gather in prayer and meditation. Let us humbly prepare for the birth of our little Great Savior by leaving aside resentments, loving our neighbor, praying with faith, driven by hope which, as Saint Paul says to the Romans, has saved us, and must never be extinguished in our hearts and which makes us strong to face the future with Christian firmness and commitment.

And we ask Child Jesus to instill Peace, Faith, Love and Hope in our hearts.

Order of Malta

American Association, U.S.A
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