Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings, 1941-1944

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings, 1941-1944

Article excerpt

ADVENT OF THE HEART: SEASONAL SERMONS AND PRISON WRITINGS, 1941-1944 by Alfred Delp, S J. Ignatitts, 240 pages, $14.95 (paper)

Alfred Delp (1907-1945) is famous in Germany-and justly so. An antiNazi Jesuit priest executed for his resistance to Hitler (which included assistance to Jews), Delp's life and martyrdom is being celebrated this year, the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth. Ignatius Press has produced this collection of his writings to bring English-language readers a taste of his greatness. Most of these meditations were written shortly before his arrest-or while he was actually in prison, with his hands shackled-as their intensity shows.

Indeed, there is an extraordinary vibrancy to his writings. Again and again, Delp addresses the apostasy of modern man and the inability of secularism to provide meaning. But he saw mankind's grave predicament as a spiritual opportunity: "The reason man has become so poor, damaged, and incapable of managing life," he wrote, "is that God's liberation has not come to him. …

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