“There are some persons whose great gift, in a dark age, is simply to maintain a candlelight of humanity and so to guarantee that darkness should not have the final word.”
So does Robert Ellsberg begin his entry on Anne Frank in All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time, a truly amazing collection of lives of the great cloud of witnesses.
Today is the birthday of Anne Frank, 1929-1945.
Her diary details the life she, her family, and another family lived in an attic in Amsterdam, hidden by the courageous Dutch.
In one entry she notes that she will need “courage and cheerfulness” to live out her mission of working “in the world and for humanity.”
Let us pray for courage and joy, in the face of the sadness, violence, and injustice around us.
It is a wonder how, just before her arrest and eventual death in Nazi death camps, she could write:
In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart….I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right….In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.
How can this be? Perhaps another entry in her diary sheds light on her spirituality of joy and gratitude. She ends her evening prayers thus:
I thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful….I am filled with joy….I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
May we too be filled with joy, gratitude, and courage – to be candlelights for humanity