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Seeing Beyond the Darkness


When this letter comes to your hands, I shall no longer be among the living.


The thing that has occupied our thoughts constantly for many months, never leaving them free, is now about to happen.  If you ask me what state I am in, I can only answer: I am, first, in a joyous mood, and second, filled with great anticipation.  As regards the first feeling, today means the end of all suffering and all earthly sorrow for me—and God will wipe away every tear from your eyes.  What consolation, what marvellous strength emanates from faith in Christ, who has preceded us in death.  In him, I have put my faith, and precisely today I have faith in him more firmly than ever, and I shall not be confounded.  As so often before, I should like now to refer you once again to Saint Paul.  Look up the following passages: 1 Corinthians 15:43-55; Romans 14:8.  In truth, look where you will—everywhere you will find jubilation over the grace that makes us children of God.  What can befall a child of God?  Of what, indeed, should I be afraid?  On the contrary, rejoice, once more I say to you, rejoice.

And as to the second feeling, this day brings the greatest hour of my life!  Everything that I have till now done, struggled for, and whose barrier I shall penetrate today.  Things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him (1 Co 2:9).  For me believing will become seeing, hope will become possession, and I shall forever share in him who is love.  Should I not, then, be filled with anticipation?  What is it all going to be like?  The thing that up to this time I have been permitted to preach about, I shall now see!  There will be no more secrets nor tormenting puzzles.  Today is the great day on which I return to the home of my Father; how could I fail to be excited and full of anticipation?  And then I shall see once more all those who have been near and dear to me here on earth!  From the very beginning I have put everything into the hands of God.  If now he demands this end of me—good, his will be done.

Until we meet again above in the presence of the Father of Light,

Your joyful Hermann.

If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whetehr we die, we are the Lord's. (Romans 14:8)

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in wewakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is writtten, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imeprishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishalbe puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

"O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:43-55)



Blessed Hermann Lange. Farewell letter to his parents from "Dying We Live: The Final Messages and Records of the Resistance." Wipf and Stock (October 2009).

Reprinted under fair use. Image credit: Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash.

The Author

Blessed Hermann Lange († 1943) was a German Catholic priest who was beheaded by the Nazis for his outspoken resistance.

Copyright © 2009
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