Monday, November 28, 2011


FR. ALFRED DELP, 1907-1945
"My chains are now without any meaning,
because God found me worthy of the 'Vincula amoris' (chains of love)."
"Life means waiting, not Faust-like grasping, but waiting and being ready…Anyone who remains stuck, waiting in fearful expectation just to see whether or not he will survive, has not yet laid bare the innermost strata. For the fearful expectation was sent to us in order to remove our false sense of security and behind it is this other metaphysical waiting that is part of existence.”

"The deepest meaning of Advent cannot be understood by anyone who has not first experienced being terrified unto death about himself and his human prospects and likewise what is revealed within himself about the situation and constitution of man in general."

--Father Alfred Delp, condemned to death and executed by the Nazis during WWII.

I learned of Fr. Delp through Magnificat, and have just reserved his Prison Meditations at the library. For now here's an article by Michael Holman, S.J. (Fr. Delp was also a Jesuit priest, and took his final vows, handcuffed, in his cell).  "Faith in Jesus is very, very rare"...

A special order by Heinrich Himmler required that the remains of all prisoners executed in connection with the July 20 Plot be cremated, and their ashes scattered over the sewage fields.

Fr. Delp was hung from a meat hook on February 2, 1945.



  1. I loved his reflection in yesterday's Magnificat and was also prompted to find out more about him (which I haven't done yet!)
    Thank you for this reminder to look him up. His writing is so stark and shocking in the best sense of the word - I have been reflecting on this and your piece in 'Dappled Things' about what real, sacrificial love looks like too. Thank you, as ever, for your truthful writing.
    God bless and I will be praying for you this Advent.

  2. Thanks for this.I came across this just after reading your post today, again from someone who knew the meaning of acute suffering :
    The God We Hardly Knew
    by Oscar Romero

    No one can celebrate
    a genuine Christmas
    without being truly poor.
    The self-sufficient, the proud,
    those who, because they have
    everything, look down on others,
    those who have no need
    even of God- for them there
    will be no Christmas.
    Only the poor, the hungry,
    those who need someone
    to come on their behalf,
    will have that someone.
    That someone is God.
    Emmanuel. God-with-us.
    Without poverty of spirit
    there can be no abundance of God.

    Blessings for a holy Advent

  3. Thanks, Lizzie, and Philomena, what a beautiful reflection from Archbishop Romero. That God would come into the world as a baby...I've been immersed in Caryll Houselander, with whom I feel an ever-deeper kinship:

    "I used to smart with rage at the worldliness of so-called Christianity, and to come close on despair; now I see that certainly such so-called Christianity exists and still does, even now, but it isn’t the real thing. The real thing, however, exists. It is the hearts of simple people, and it depends not upon what school of thought one grew up in, or what creed one believes in, but on one’s capacity for love and for humility.

    I am sure, as never before, that the Russian idea of Christ, humble, suffering, and crowned with thorns, is the only true one; that it is impossible to be a Christian unless the humility and poverty of Christ are taken literally and all that tends toward power, grandeur, success and so on, is avoided and despised.

    So simple is the way, that in this fact alone there is joy; it is wonderful too to see how this flowering of Christ continues in the human heart and is indeed a seed sown by the Spirit wherever He wills to sow it"...

    As St. Therese of Lisieux said, "May we become little, more and more"...

    Thank you, Philomena. I'm glad for your presence...

  4. Thanks for mentioning Caryll Houselander- another good one to look up !
    All I know about her is that she was a recluse,a bit of a mysttic and she counselled children caught up in the trauma of the 2nd World War in the UK.

  5. Between you and Philomena and Naked Pastor, I am blessed with treasure and much to contemplate. (The link to Blue Eyed Ennis came through you and the link to NP through her). Good connections. I feel overwhelmed sometimes by the reality of the Unseen.

  6. Hey Louise- thanks so much !!
    Blessings for a holy and peaceful Advent


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