Advent Companions: Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ
"More, and on a deeper level than before, we really know this time that all of life is Advent."--Fr. Alfred Delp
Our final Advent companion is a man who has not been formally canonized, but whose writings on Advent are beautiful and moving. Alfred Delp, SJ was a German Jesuit priest who was executed by the Nazis on February 2, 1945. Fr. Delp was a a great preacher and a critic of the Nazi regime, working actively against the Nazis. One collection of his writings in English, Advent of the Heart (published by Ignatius Press) brings together several Advent sermons and writings from prison as well as an Advent play he wrote. On the third Sunday of Advent in 1944, while incarcerated in Tegel Prison, Fr. Delp wrote on the theme of joy, which is fitting for Gaudete Sunday: "In order to be capable of true life, man must live according to a specific order and relationship to God. The capability of true joy and of living joyfully is itself dependent upon specific conditions of human life, upon particular attitudes regarding God. Where life does not perceive itself as taking place in community with God, it will be gray and gloomy and drab and calculating." This is the secret of Advent joy: our communion with God. If we are in communion with Him, everything becomes pure joy, regardless of exterior situation. Without Him the happiest celebration becomes like dust and ashes. Fr. Delp reminds us that our whole lives are a kind of Advent as we await the coming of the great King at the end of our lives. Let us be ready to meet Him when He comes!