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Today,  the world is given two events to commemorate.   We forget them at our peril.   Earthly peril.   Eternal peril.      I don’t want to forget either.

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And so light is on my mind today, Aug. 6, this day in 1945 when the first atomic bomb was detonated in an act of war.  I’ve read perhaps a half dozen books about this day, and even more eyewitness accounts.   They speak of the strange light that filled the sky  as the bomb detonated.

It was an eerie light, full of unearthly, ungodly colors.  They were colors that didn’t have names and colors that just shouldn’t be.   In an instant,  the light flashed as though it were going to be lightning,  but it was diffuse, filling the air around them, filling even human bodies, allowing the bones to be seen;  skeletons that fell to the ground or disappeared, sometimes leaving only a shadow.


I had a neighbor, once, who was on duty during one of the nuclear bomb testings, the one at Bikini Island.   On the day of the test the soldiers were told to turn their backs to the test site, close their eyes tightly, and put their hands over their eyes.   They did,  and when the bomb detonated,  they saw, with its light, the bones of their own hands, covering their eyes.

There was light from that spectrum at Hiroshima, on this day, and more.  Colors developed in the air and boiled and roiled around, changing to  something like  yellows and greens, purples and browns and nameless colors;  and the light seemed to move through the air and through things.

The ungodly light illuminated objects and gave the understanding that something is very, very wrong here.   Something harmful and deadly has just been unleashed into the world,  like the living personification and sum total of all human evil.   That impression has never changed.

And so the debate continues:   These were innocent casualties in a war fought against totalitarianism.   How many lives is freedom worth?   Or do we even really know what living without freedom means?   How do we defeat and contain evil without becoming evil ourselves? Or perhaps a better question should be:   What are the consequences of governing  and waging war when the Rulers (the leaders and decision makers)  are not subject to a Higher Authority?  

Which brings me to the second event we commemorate today – and we forget at our own peril.

That is the Transfiguration.    Christendom remembers the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on the top of a mountain in Israel, where he had taken three of His closest associates to be witnesses.


The three friends had become drowsy but then woke to a light all around them, gentle yet penetrating, illuminating and sharpening their senses.   At the center of the light stood Jesus, now become a Being of Light.   “I am the Light of the World.”

In  words better than mine:  “They were enthralled and enraptured and carried out of life, and yet made to feel in the very essence of their own being the utter joy of living!  It was the Light that was the Light of Men, the Light shining in the darkness, the Light that enlightens every man that comes into the world.  Jesus Christ, the Light, the Life, the Son of the Living God…”   “….in Whom the fullness of the divinity exists, and which is meant to overflow into us…”

A Heavenly Light that is both powerful and benevolent, full of favor and goodness towards us,  the source of our own life and the End towards which we hope to obtain.   Eternal Light.

There is a “wrongness” to things and there is a “Rightness”  to things.

(Search Engine Key Words:   Hiroshima;  shadows;  8:15 a.m.;  physical effects of atomic bomb;  Bikini Atoll test site;  The Transfiguration;  Abp. Alban Goodier – The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ;  Blessed Abbot Marmion – Christ the Light of our Soul;  papal decree against crossbows. . . )

Explore posts in the same categories: American History, Christ the King, Christendom, Freedom, Holy Days, Lessons from History

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