Beeswax Candles in the Catholic Church

Beeswax candles have been utilized for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians relied on beeswax for candle making and embalming. Similarly, the Greeks and Romans used beeswax candles for their religious rituals and home lighting.

In the Middle Ages, beeswax candles were a luxury item, only affordable for the wealthy, royalty and the Church. As time went on, the process of making beeswax candles evolved, and by the 18th century, the dipping method was developed and is still use today.

In the 19th century, with the invention of the electricity, the popularity of beeswax candles began to decline. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in natural and sustainable products, and beeswax candles have became once again popular. 

Today, beeswax candles are made using the same traditional methods that have been used for centuries. Beeswax is collected from beehives, cleaned and filtered to remove impurities, and then melted and poured into molds to create candles. 

In addition to their rich history, beeswax candles have many benefits. They are non-toxic, the purify the air, they are safe for people and animals, and have a natural, subtle honey scent. They are also a sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative to paraffin wax candles.

The practice of lighting candles is an important tradition in Catholic churches, communities and families. The origins of this can be traced back to Old Testament times, when an oil lamp was used to maintain a perpetual flame representing the passing of the divine light through generations

The Light Is A Reminder to Stay Present to the Lord.
The light signifies our prayer offered in faith coming into the light of God— allowing us to be filled with His light.

What is the besswax percentage on a catholic candle for use in the Church?

Candles have always been a part of Catholic worship and symbols of the Divine Light and the light of faith. Candles used in the Catholic Church must be at least 51% beeswax because beeswax traditionally symbolizes fertility and purity, and the beeswax's fragrance evokes the sweetness of God's grace.

Symbolic significance of beeswax candles in the Catholic Church

Candles are traditionally made of beeswax, and there is a reason for this. Worker bees who gather nectar from flowers do not play a part in the reproduction of the species. Reproduction is left to the queen bee and drone bees. The virgin worker bees dedicate their lives to the creation of this wax and represent Our Lady, the virgin mother who gave birth to Christ. The pure beeswax also represents Christ’s pure flesh. Candles, when blessed, are one of the greatest Sacramentals of the Church  and are a magnificent and important symbol of Christ.  The pure wax, made by virginal bees, is a symbol of the pure flesh of the Savior coming from the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The candle’s wick represents Our Lord’s human soul.  The flame of the lighted candle signifies His Divinity.  They have also been lit by Catholics for centuries as a symbol of prayer.  

Blessed candles

Candles are blessed on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mother, and the great Paschal candle is blessed on the Easter Vigil.  The Paschal candle is inscribed with Α Ω (Alpha and Omega), and pierced with five nails.  This very special candle remains in the church sanctuary all through the Paschaltide season, bringing us the constant remembrance of Christ risen from the dead.  It is extinguished at the reading of the Epistle on Ascension Thursday.

Use of candles in the Catholic Church

The Church makes use of candles in many other ways, as well.  Candles are lighted at Mass in memory of the persecutions of the Church, when the first Masses were offered by candlelight in the catacombs.  The sanctuary lamp remains always lighted to let the faithful know when the Blessed Sacrament is present in the church.  The devout faithful also light candles in the Church to represent their continued prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, when they cannot physically be there, but must go about their life and work in the world.  Candles may also be lit at home during times of prayer.  The blessed candle is a very powerful and efficacious sacramental.

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