May we be sentinels of hope in the nights of the world!

One Column

In him was life, and life was the light of mankind, and the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not overtake it.
John 1:4-5

The night is the symbol of our fears, of our insecurity. Today we live in a world full of contradictions, conflicts and wars, and many people ask themselves: “When will this night end?”

Everyone lives the night. Birth and death alternate in our existence, just as day and night are part of life, of time; they mark us irreversibly. The night has been conceived from the beginning. It was placed there to distinguish and understand: one could not understand day without night (see Gen 1:3-5).


The experience of the night is shared across religions. In the words of theologian André Feuillet, it “[…] is the time in which the history of salvation has been privileged.”

For the Israelite, the night is an event full of memories, of promises, of hopes. In Jesus’ nights, joy and suffering, exaltation and weeping, certainty and doubt, hope and anguish, coexist.

An ancient rabbinic text, called The Poem of the Four Nights, tells how four times God watched all night (made Passover) to bring salvation. The first night was the night of Creation, the second night was the night of the Covenant, the third night was the night of deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and the fourth night is the night of the Messiah. It is the Passover night, a night determined and reserved for the salvation of all the generations of Israel.

In the Christian reinterpretation, the fourth night is the night of the Risen Christ. The night of the Easter Vigil recasts the whole history of salvation. It is the night of all nights, in which the power of love defeats death.


For Christians today, more than ever, the message of resurrection must embrace the principle of hope. There is a very close connection between the theological virtue of hope and the category of night. Hope is a nocturnal virtue, an exercise in waiting. Night and hope almost merge, identify with each other and become companions in our struggle to live and love.

In the uncertainty of present crises, let us have a positive outlook, recognising that the night is the womb of life, a place of hope in which to await the dawn (see: Mt 28:1-9; Mk 16:1-8; Jn 20:1-10). May we have the capacity to imagine new contours and new voices, to imagine a possible future.

God does important things at night!

Let us enter into God’s liberating and creative nights, so that in the twilight of unspeakable suffering, of so many lives that are being extinguished, in the Holy Land, Ukraine, Sudan, Congo and many other places, God may help us to see something new, to have the gaze of peoples who seek peace and tranquillity in the dark heart of the night.

Christ is risen, Alleluia!