Alfred Delp, S.J., was executed by the Nazis short months before the regime’s downfall. The Provincial of the English Jesuits has a moving personal reflection on his brother in the faith here.
Delp’s Prison Meditations and Prayers are not as well-known as those of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; but they very much deserve to be. Here are some Advent ponderings:
Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken and brought to a realization of ourselves. The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams in which and by means of which we always build ourselves imaginary worlds. In this way we force reality to take us to itself by force – by force, in much pain and suffering.
This shocked awakening is definitely part of experiencing Advent. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God’s promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the inner light in our hearts. Being shattered, being awakened – only with these is life made capable of Advent. In the bitterness of awakening, in the helplessness of “coming to,” in the wretchedness of realizing our limitations, the golden threads that pass between heaven and earth in these times reach us. These golden threads give the world a taste of the abundance it can have.
We must not shy away from Advent thoughts of this kind. We must let our inner eye see and let our hearts range far. We will encounter the earnestness of Advent and the blessing of Advent in a different way. We will see characters, completed and whole personalities, that belong to these days and to all days – characters in whom the Advent message and the Advent blessing simply exist and live, calling out to us and touching us to cheer and shake us, to console and to uplift us.
The rest is here.