A life that has hardened into numbness is mortally sick.
All that is vital in life succumbs to the hardening process. A numbed person deludes himself into believing that he cannot hear the inner voice that calls on him to shake off this numbness and rise out of himself. He is bound and fettered to himself and wastes away in that condition. He becomes incapable of living faith, as he is incapable of entering into the dialogue, the fundamental form of creative life in every respect.
True faith, reverence, respect, love, adoration — all these are forms of the dialogue and all of them are stifled in the numbness brought about by the hardening of heart. So a person really ought to make every effort to maintain the dialogue and not to miss a single moment of contact with the invisible partner.
More grievous than any external hardness or difficulty is this inner numbness, whether it results from habit, or fear, or shock, from pettiness, or pride.
Father Alfred Delp, S.J. "The Numbness of Those Who Try to Kill Jesus." from Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2006).
Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press.
This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in March 2016.
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 © 2006 Ignatius Press
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