Advent is the time for rousing.
Humanity is shaken to the very depths, so that we may wake up to the truth of ourselves. The primary condition for a fruitful and rewarding Advent is renunciation, surrender.
Humans must let go of all their mistaken dreams, their conceited poses and arrogant gestures, all the pretenses with which they hope to deceive themselves and others. If they fail to do this stark reality may take hold of them and rouse them forcibly in a way that will entail both anxiety and suffering.
The 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. A shattering awakening; that is the necessary preliminary.
Life only begins when the whole framework is shaken. There can be no proper preparation without this. It is precisely in the shock of rousing while he is still deep in the helpless, semi-conscious state, in the pitiable weakness of that borderland between sleep and waking, that a person finds the golden thread which binds earth to heaven and gives the benighted soul some inkling of the fullness it is capable of realizing and is called upon to realize.
Father Alfred Delp, S.J. "Preparing the Way." from Prison Writings. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004).
Reprinted with permission from Orbis Books.
Father Alfred Delp, S.J. (1907-1945) was a German Jesuit priest and a philosopher of the German Resistance. Part of the inner Kreisau Circle resistance group, he is considered a significant figure in Catholic resistance to Nazism. Implicated in the failed 1944 July Plot to overthrow the Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler, Delp was arrested, and sentenced to death. He was executed in 1945. Father Delp is the author of Advent Of The Heart, and Prison Writings.Copyright © 2004 Orbis Books
back to top