Friday, December 23, 2016

"Another promise fallen through"

Alfred Delp, SJ, who was executed by the Nazis towards the end of World War II for his principled resistance, wrote this about Advent:
The deepest meaning of Advent cannot be understood by anyone who has not first experienced being terrified unto death about himself and his human prospects and likewise what is revealed within himself about the situation and constitution of mankind in general.

This entire message about God’s coming, about the Day of Salvation, about redemption drawing near, will be merely divine game-playing or sentimental lyricism unless it is grounded upon two clear findings of fact.

The first finding: insight into, and alarm over the powerlessness and futility of human life in relation to its ultimate meaning and fulfillment . . . The second finding: the promise of God to be on our side, to come to meet us
"In a Big Country" by Big Country is the song for this penultimate day and ultimate Friday of Advent. It's a song of hope. The verse of this song sings hope to me is:
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered

Hope is not optimism, let alone wishing. To think otherwise is to fool yourself into thinking you're going to somehow save yourself. Such a notion is perhaps the worst self-delusion. Hope is what you have when you think or feel you have nothing else. I think this is exactly what Delp expressed. In, or in whom, do you hope? Your life tells the story your words could never express, one way or the other. Also this is little so-called "anti-culture" for the culture warriors who haven't a clue.

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