By Sister Honora Nicholson 

O Radiant Dawn, 
Radiance of the eternal light and sun of justice: 
Come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death! 

A short while ago, Netflix added a new series to their offerings called, “All the Light You Cannot See.” The series is based on a novel by Anthony Doerr which revolves around two main characters: a young French woman, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, who is blind and who takes refuge in her uncle’s house in Saint-Malo which is occupied by Nazi Germany, and Werner Pfennig, a young German boy who is accepted into a military school because of his skills in radio technology. 

As children both Marie and Werner were captivated by a “professor” who broadcast illegally on the radio late at night. As their worlds became increasingly bleak and hopeless with the onset of World War II the professor’s words gave them comfort and hope. They listened intently as he lovingly assured them that “the most important light is all the light we cannot ….; even in complete darkness, there is still light…” 

At one particularly dark moment when Marie and her father are fleeing Paris as the German army invades she tells her father, “Sometimes I feel as though everyone in the world has gone mad at the same time.” She goes on to say, “In this time of stupid darkness, in this time of ridiculous old men invading cities, stealing whole towns like bullying children, I will try to remember some of the things the professor said and share them. Because he told us to trust always that the light does prevail.”  

“Sometimes I feel as though everyone in the world has gone mad at the same time…” a sentiment I’ve been feeling for quite a while now as I hear reports of:  

  • children in bombed areas being rushed to hospitals where their bodies are inked with WCNSF (Wounded Child No Surviving Family) 
  • premature babies struggling to survive without the aid of incubators; 
  • inhumane bombing of innocent civilians while the world looks on 
  • politicians who put their own interests before the common good 
  • an uptick in racist, anti-semitic and homophobic incidents 

We are living in a world that aches for the radiance of eternal light to shine upon our darkness, a world where kindness and reason are in short supply. And in that darkness today we pray the O Oriens antiphon, begging God to come and save us and in reply we hear “our professor”, Jesus, our Radiant Dawn, the Sun of Justice, say to us: The most important light is the light you cannot see. YOU are the light! Let your light shine! Be the change you wish to see in the world! Bring light to those who walk in the shadow of death by your “kind word, your compassionate look, your patient hearing of sorrows.” (Catherine McAuley)

“There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” (Amanda Gorman)