I gave a brief introduction to Fr. Alfred Delp and the book Advent of the Heart in the post on the First Sunday of Advent. Advent was a topic that concerned Fr. Delp throughout his life (1907-1945). It became a metaphor for his own experience "waiting" for the end of the terrifying Nazi regime. In his case, Christmas became his own martyrdom, when he encountered, not a porcelain baby in a creche, but Christ Himself as the Second Person of the Beatific Vision. Almost in anticipation of this extraordinary journey, his preaching and writings on the subject were gripping theological genius...and very appropriate for our own times. It is ironic that the United States of America, rolling into Germany in 1945 with her tanks of salvation, would one day need so desperately this martyr's words of warning and instruction.
The book divides into the 4 weeks of Advent, with appropriate selections of Fr. Delp's writings. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the Season of Advent, but not at all for the faint-hearted. If you take these writings to heart, they will challenge and change you in the most fundamental, deep ways. So....consider yourself warned. As it states in the introduction to Saint Louis de Montfort's The Secret of Mary, these words will exact a responsibility from you:
"...beware, then, of remaining inactive...it would turn into a poison and be your condemnation."
To proceed, I'd like to offer a few brief excerpts from the various introductions to Advent of the Heart, which I feel are essential to the understanding of Fr. Delp:
"Delp wrote the 1944 meditations in Tegel Prison, usually while his hands were in handcuffs. These meditations were smuggled out of the prison as seret messages...
This book presents Advent sermons from Father Delp's parish work in Munich, alongside the powerful messages from his prison Advent experience of 1944...
Their roughness evokes a powerful sense of immediacy rooted in the suffering and danger of the times."
Fr. Delp was originally arrested for suspicion of having knowledge of the attempt on Hitler's life which took place on July 20, 1944.....
"Although all charges related to the assassination attempt were dropped, the irreconcilable opposition of Christianity to Nazism became the focus of the proceedings...Delp was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging."
I would really like to copy the entire book for you right here..it is rife from beginning to end with essential thoughts for our times. Since I can't do that, it is my hope that you buy the book, read it and continue reading it for the rest of your life, as I intend to do. It is difficult to choose only a few "best" quotes, but I will try to choose those that I feel speak particularly to our own times and are relevant to the theme of this blog. In the coming weeks, I will provide these excerpts, so stay tuned and let's share a journey of spiritual growth this Advent!
Dear Father Alfred Delp, pray for us!