by Fr. Bryan Cunningham on 21/01/2015 -
A man had a little daughter – an only and much beloved child. He lived only for her, she was his life. So when she became ill and her illness resisted the efforts of the best obtainable doctors, he became like a man possessed, moving heaven and earth to bring about her restoration to health. His best efforts proved fruitless, however, and the child died. The father was totally irreconcilable. He became a bitter recluse, shutting himself away from his many friends, refusing every activity that might restore his sense of purpose and bring him back to his normal self. Then one night he had a dream. He was in heaven and witnessing a grand pageant of all the little child angels. They were marching in an apparently endless line past the Great White Throne. Every white-robed, angelic child carried a beautiful candle. He noticed, however, that one child’s candle was not lit. Then he saw that the child with the unlit candle was his own little girl. Rushing towards her, while the pageant faltered, he seized her in his arms, caressed her tenderly, and asked, “How is that your candle is the only one not lit?” “Daddy, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out again,” she said. Just then he awoke from from his dream. The lesson was crystal clear, and it’s effects were immediate. From that hour on he was no longer a recluse, but mingled freely and cheerfully with his former friends and associates. No longer would his little daughter’s candle in heaven be extingushed by his unnecessary tears.