It has become something of a nightly routine for one of my children to wake me up between 2-4 a.m. I can often get back to sleep quickly, but on one of those nights I found it difficult. I started thinking about all of the things that need prayer and charity in this world. “If only I could bring some light to these places,” I thought, feeling limited by my humanity and vocation to the four tiny souls entrusted to my care. 

Over this last year, I have been studying beauty and the role of light in medieval thought. Through the likes of St. Hildegard of Bingen, Bishop Robert Grosseteste, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas and others, I have come to appreciate anew the role that Christ’s light plays here on Earth. Christ as the light of the world is a major theme of medieval thought. We have lost a sense of light’s importance in our own day largely because we can easily chase the dark away with the flip of a switch. This is, however, a relatively new development, even if most of us never experienced life any other way. But the medievals were fascinated by light, by the gift of it and by its transforming power physically, morally and spiritually. They spent copious amounts of precious ink trying to articulate the profound relationship between light and God, and what we can learn about the latter from the former.

So there in the darkness in the wee hours of the night, the thought hit me that even if I can’t go to these places and help, I could ask the Source of all light to go to them. I realized that I could send Christ to illuminate the very dark corners of the earth. The Litany of Light below is the fruit of these meager prayers. The saints included were all champions of sorts of Christ’s light. And the places of great darkness will be familiar to us all, in one form or another. Bishop Liam Cary, of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon, has graciously given it his imprimatur

As our world seems to descend into greater darkness, we can be confident that our Advocate and Savior is with us and that He is “the light that shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). 

 

Litany of Light

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us. 
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. 
R. Christ, graciously hear us. 
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Christ, Light of the World, hear us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Mother of the New Dawn, pray for us.

Holy Trinity, source of all light, illuminate the darkness in our world:
To the minds of those dimmed by sin, bring your light.
To the hearts of those gripped by pornography, bring your light.
To those suffering depression or mental illness, bring your light.
To the souls enslaved by substance abuse, bring your light.
To those burdened by same-sex attraction, bring your light.
To those gripped by anxiety and fear, bring your light.
To the hearts of those who mourn, bring your light.
To the souls and bodies of abusers and the abused, bring your light.
To those with no place to call home, bring your light.
To those intent on killing in the name of God, bring your light.
To abortion clinics, bring your light.
To brothels and human-trafficking locations, bring your light.
To hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes, bring your light.
To classrooms of despair, confusion and falsehood, bring your light.
To violent and drug-infested streets, bring your light.
To war-torn territories, bring your light.
To lands darkened, flooded, or destroyed by natural disasters, bring your light.
Wherever there is confusion, despair, loneliness and anger, bring your light.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
St. Lucy, pray for us.
St. Augustine, pray for us.
St. Hildegard of Bingen, pray for us.
St. Claire, pray for us.
St. Albert the Great, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
St. Bonaventure, pray for us.
All the Choirs of Angels, pray for us.
Mary, Light in the Darkness, pray for us.

V. Light of the World, who take away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Light of the World, who take away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Light of the World, who take away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.

Amen.

Imprimatur: The Most Reverend Liam Cary, Bishop of Baker, Oregon