Plough Logo

Shopping Cart

  View Cart

Subtotal:

Checkout
Pine branch covered in snow

The Angel of Annunciation

Alfred Delp

Available languages: Español, Français

1 Comments
1 Comments
1 Comments
    Submit
  • John Mawson

    Quite directly and straight to the point. Light shines out of darkness which gives it its special quality and we learn by opposites! To be taken up by the Cause is a sign of being called, and people who profess to be brothers/sisters can be caught out by some place where they draw the line. More than once I have wavered on the edge of leavinerg during the 30 years I have lived in Community and had to take arms against myself and all reason to hold on. Nevertheless life is barren outside this Cause, and only our imaginings lead us to believe otherwise.To watch those we hold dear go through this narrow pass is always a special agony for us. This is where we learn the vital need and power of patient prayer. Bless you all!

Condemned as a traitor for his opposition to Hitler, Alfred Delp, a Jesuit priest, wrote this piece in a Nazi prison shortly before he was hanged in 1945.

I see Advent with greater intensity and anticipation than ever before. Walking up and down in my cell, three paces this way and three paces that way, with my hands in irons and ahead of me an uncertain fate, I have a new and different understanding of God’s promise of redemption and release.

Two years ago I was given a little angel for Advent. It bore the inscription, “Rejoice, for the Lord is near.” A bomb destroyed the angel and killed the man who gave it to me. I feel he is doing me the service of an angel now.

The horror of war would be unendurable unless we kept being encouraged by the promises that have been spoken. There always are angels of annunciation, speaking their message of good news into the midst of anguish, scattering their seed of blessing that will spring up one day in the midst of the night. They call us to hope. These are not yet the loud angels of rejoicing and fulfillment that come out into the open, like the angels of the first Christmas. Quiet, inconspicuous, they come into rooms and hearts as they did then. Quietly they bring God’s questions and proclaim to us the wonders of God, for whom nothing is impossible.

For all its seriousness, Advent is a time of inner security, because we have received a message from on high. Oh, if it ever happens that we forget the message and the promises; if all we know is the four walls and the prison windows of our gray days; if we can no longer hear the gentle step of the announcing angels; if our souls are no longer both shaken and exalted by their whispered word—then it will be all over with us. We are living wasted time and are dead long before they do us any harm.

If we want to be alive, then we must first believe in the golden seed of God that the angels have scattered and are still offering to open hearts. Then we must walk through the gray days of our time as announcing messengers. so many need their courage strengthened, so many are in despair and in need of comfort, there is so much harshness that needs a gentle hand and an illuminating word, so much loneliness crying out for a word of release, so much loss and pain in search of inner meaning! God’s messengers know that the Lord is casting seed of blessing into these hours of history as well.

Understanding this world in the light of Advent means to endure in faith, waiting for the fertility of the silent earth, the abundance of the coming harvest—not because we put our trust in the earth but because we have heard God’s message and have met one of God’s angels ourselves.

Advent is the time of promise; it is not yet the time of fulfillment. To eyes that do not see, it seems as though the final dice are being cast down here in the valley of death: on the battlefields, in the cities of violence and poverty, in the souls of millions who live lives of desperation. Those who are awake, however, sense the working of other powers –eternal realities, which shine their light of the radiant fulfillment to come.

From afar sound the first notes, not yet discernible as a song or melody. The new song of God’s future is still far off and only just announced and foretold. But fulfillment is happening. It is occurring today. And tomorrow the angels will tell what has happened with loud, rejoicing voices, and we will know it and be glad.

This article is an excerpt from When the Time Was Fulfilled: Christmas Meditations.

stone sculpture of angel
Do you have a comment? Join the conversation. 1 Comments
Contributed By Alfred Delp Alfred Delp

As a condemned prisoner of Germany’s Third Reich, Jesuit priest Alfred Delp wrote letters and meditations from his prison cell expressing his struggles, victories, and convictions. His writings are still valued today for their clarity and direction.

Learn More
1 Comments