Carpe Noctem

Have you heard this phrase before?

Perhaps you know the more common phrase, “carpe diem,” which translates as “seize the day.”

Well, “carpe noctem” is the opposite, “seize the night.”

Now, before you run off thinking that I am encouraging sleep deprivation, becoming nocturnal, or just all around having a different daily schedule than everyone else in your surroundings… I want to interpret “carpe noctem” poetically and theologically.


Carpe diem is often said in reference to “making the best of your day.” Or, “live today well.” “Make good use of your life.”

Carpe noctem could then be said in reference to “making the best of your night.” Or, “live tonight well.”

But poetically, and even theologically, night means more than just the span of time when the sun is on the opposite side of the globe. Night can also be a theo-poetic reference to hardship, difficulty, or failure. Perhaps you have even references whole seasons of your life as being “pretty dark.”

In our current situation, it seems as though the pandemic is more than just a forced sabbatical on all of us. It has instead become rather apocalyptic in the sense that it is a “revelation,” it is “revealing” something to us about us. We have had numerous instances of racism, classism, sexism rear their ugly heads within us. It’s not that the pandemic caused them, no, the pandemic has further revealed them.

So, seize the night.

Carpe noctem.

Take a hold of this dark time and do not let it go to waste. I realize that many people have said that we should seize this time and learn a skill or new language, and perhaps you have. Great job. Way to go. Keep going.

But in another sense, do not let this time go to waste as a catalyst for you to be changed, transformed, etc. Carpe noctem. If you are having a difficult time with what this time is revealing to you ABOUT YOU, then good. These are things that perhaps have been avoided that only a pandemic would have brought out.

That being said, take heart. Wake up, grow up, clean up and show up to your own life. This time will only go to waste if we return from the pandemic exactly as we were when we went into it.

Carpe noctem.

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