Father Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit opposed to Hitler was hanged by the Nazis on February 2, 1945. The Advent before he wrote a profound series of meditations in his prison cell, published as The Prison Meditations of Father Alfred Delp. For many years they formed part of my Advent meditations.
This year I’m reading them in a new edition, Alfred Delp, SJ: Prison Writings, published by Orbis Books. As today’s Gospel from Mark calls us to be alert and attentive, so Delp’s opening meditation calls us to wake up:
Advent is a time for rousing. Humanity is shaken to the very depths, so that we may wake up to the truth of ourselves….
This kind of awakening that literally shocks a person’s whole being is part and parcel of the Advent idea. A deep emotional experience like this is necessary to kindle the inner light which confirms the blessing and the promise of the Lord…. Life only begins when the whole framework is shaken…. It is precisely in the shock of rousing while he is still deep in the helpless, semi-conscious state…, that persons finds the golden thread which binds earth to heaven and give the benighted soul some inkling of the fullness it is capable of realizing and is called upon to realize.
And so, may this Advent be for us a time to wake up to the fullness of hope to which we are called so that we may be alert to the presence of God in our daily lives.