One of the saddest and most significant things about modern life is that it lacks instinct.
Loss of instinct is the greatest deprivation either for a tamed animal or a human being who is exhausted. People today are completely without instinct. Under the fatal burden of our civilization, the overwhelming weight of our titanic dreams, the futile waste of our so-called self-realization and other vague ideas, we have lost our natural instinct.
And the mechanization and reorganization of our religious life have taken away our supernatural instinct as well. Very seldom is a natural taste for religion (which is a characteristic of those who consciously yield themselves to the indwelling Spirit) met with nowadays. The certainty which enabled us to distinguish between good and evil by our own inner standard, to decide between useful and harmful, between wisdom and folly, has vanished. This explains the immature behavior of so many Christians today. It has a much deeper cause than faulty upbringing or inadequate instruction....
Our deviation from the right road underlines the fundamental errors and the need for immediate repentance...
Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed prudence, wisdom, and piety. These are natural attributes which provide penetration, the power to see connecting links to divine underlying factors and basic causes. These are the "intuitive" faculties with which the Holy Spirit endows us and which he keeps alive in us by his own life. They give us the "single eye" and safeguard us against blind conflict with reality which must in the end do us harm.
Father Alfred Delp, S.J. "... since they had not repented." from Prison Writings. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004).
Reprinted with permission from Orbis Books. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.
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