We need voices crying in our wilderness

The voice of one crying in the desert:
Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight His paths.
Mark 1: 3

From his prison cell in Nazi Germany in 1944, Father Alfred Delp, S.J., wrote of John the Baptist:

…woe to any age in which the voice crying in the wilderness can no longer be heard because the noises of everyday life drown it – or restrictions forbid it – or it is lost in the hurry and turmoil of “progress” – or simply stifled by authority, misled by fear and cowardice.

…There should never ne any lack of prophets like John the Baptist in the kaleidoscope of life at any period… They warn us of our chance, because they can already feel the ground heaving beneath their feet… They cry out to us, urging us to save ourselves by a change of heart before the coming of the catastrophe threatening to overwhelm us.

…Oh may the arresting voices of the wilderness ring out, warning [humanity] in good time, that ruin and devastation actually spread from within. May the Advent figure of St. John the Baptist, the incorruptible herald and teacher in God’s name, be no longer a stranger in our own wilderness…. For how shall we hear if there are none to cry out, none whose voice can rise above the tumult of violence and destruction, the false clamor that deafens us to reality?

Where are the voices crying out today, the voices of prophets?

How can I be a voice denouncing the injustice and oppression around me, calling to repentance – providing hope and signs of the Kingdom of God in our midst?

Father John Kavanaugh, S.J., noted that “repentance … is the beginning of hope.”

Would that we would repent and also call our nations and even the church to repentance, “awaiting a new heaven and a new earth in which justice reigns.” (2 Peter 3: 13)


The quotation from Father Alfred Delp, S.J., is taken from Alfred Delp, SJ: Prison Writings (Orbis Books, 2004), pages 16-17.



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