Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Advent: A Self-surrender at the Heart of the World"

A beautiful article at this blog "dedicated to the writings of the Jesuit priest and martyr–Alfred Delp,"  Delp was "a German Jesuit priest, and philosopher of the German Resistance. Part of the inner Kreisau Circle resistance group, he is considered a significant figure in Catholic resistance to Nazism."

This comes from Tegel Prison, Berlin, and December 1944:
The deepest meaning of Advent cannot be understood by anyone who has not yet 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 mankind in general.

The entire message about God’s coming, about the Day of Salvation, about the redemption drawing near, will be merely divine game-playing or sentimental lyricism unless it is grounded upon two clear findings of fact.

The first finding: insights into, and alarm over powerlessness and futility of human life in relation to its ultimate meaning and fulfillment. The powerlessness and futility are boundaries of our human existence and are also consequences of sin. At the same time, we are keenly aware that life does have an ultimate meaning and fulfillment. The second finding: the promise of God to be on our side, to come to meet us. God resolved to raise the boundaries of our existence and to overcome the consequences of sin.

However, as a result, the basic condition of life always has an Advent dimension: boundaries, and hunger, and thirst, and the lack of fulfillment, and promise, and movement toward another. That means, however, that we basically remain without shelter, under way, and open until the final encounter, with all the humble blessedness and painful pleasure of this openness.

Therefore there is no interim finality, and the attempt to create final conclusions is an old temptation of mankind. Hunger and thirst, and desert journeying, and the survival teamwork of mountaineers on a rope—these are the truth of our human condition. The promises given relate to this truth, not to arrogance and caprice. There really are promises given to this truth though, and we can and should rely upon them. The truth will make you free (Jn 8:32)

That truth is the essential theme of life. Everything else is only expression, result, application, consequence, testing, and practice. May God help us to wake up to ourselves and in doing so, to move from ourselves toward Him. Every temptation to live according to another condition is a deception. Our participation in this is existential lie is really the sin for which we today—as individuals, as a generation, and as a continent—are so horribly doing penance. The way to salvation will be found only in an existential conversion and return to truth. 

More at the link.  HT Sublunary Sublime.

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