Monday, December 16, 2013

living fully

"Only in God is man capable of living fully." (p. 35)
 - Fr. Alfred Delp SJ, “The Prison Meditations of Father Alfred Delp”, 1963 Herder and Herder New York
See also: The Prison Meditations of Father Delp


  1. 2Cents _______________________________________________

    alas this is a interesting idea
    "only in God " are we to assume that God/god is Catholic
    or the God/god of all the known religions, and living fully according to
    whose concept this is not to find fault with Fr.AD but how is such a insight
    fulfilled - I think this is the type question Merton tries to answer
    and is problematic for him perhaps there is a basic problem with
    concepts and views in them selves in the fact life can only be lived
    out of the present moment because that is all that one has - is this -
    this a god moment I don’t know but if it is, its a god moment for all the universe
    it is nice to think one is special to god but also so is everyone else
    if this the case - I just talk to much at times *

    Blessings _______________________________________

    1. I agree with you Bob, and have my own problems with Delp's intensely "Catholic" language, and having to understand (and relate and translate) through his expression to my own way of understanding reality.

      Because I was raised Catholic, it can feel like I'm going backward, returning to a more black and white, and "certain" way of knowing and being.

      But after spending all these years with Delp I'm coming to see that he goes further than myopic piety and is able to delve deeply into "what is going on", even if he is using the particular language of his own particular faith culture.

      Why do you assume that is a "Catholic" God or the God of known religions? Is God not totally outside of the realm of our ability to know or articulate, and our religious language just fingers pointing at the moon? For a long time in my life (even now to an extent) I refused to talk about God. Refused to say anything at all with words. Everything was simply inadequate, missing the mark, using fingers to point at fingers.

      Probably why Merton was so drawn to Zen. It broke down all those rational mind concepts attempts to box something in that can't be boxed.

      I agree with you that life can only be lived from the present moment, and that is all that we have. I'm a big fan of Eckart Tolle.

      But I'm still reaching for something, and in his 1940s way of speaking, even within his religious language, he is pointing me toward something that I, in my secular way, had missed. Do you know about Etty Hillesum? A Jewish girl who had a kind of spiritual awakening and was able to see into reality on her way to the gas chambers. Well, the story is a little longer than that, but my point is that she was able to tap into a source of grace that fed and nourished her even in the midst of a terrible situation. I sense the same in Dorothy Day. She found something. Alfred Delp, as well. I wanted to know what they found in life that lifted them above the usual sadness of suffering (quiet desperation) that pervades the inner life of most of us.

      In his prison meditations, Delp delivers, but you do have to be able to read it in the context of his own particular faith context. I think that someone else from another Faith context could also express this same insight - perhaps the Dead Sea Scrolls - but I probably would not understand the context in the way that I can with Delp.

      I talk too much at times too :-)

      PS what's so contradictory with being special to God and everyone else being special too?

  2. 2Cents

    nothing special *

    Blessings _______________________________


Lax photography

Robert Lax (1915-2000), Untitled, 1970s; black and white photograph, 11 x 17 inches; Robert Lax Archives. St. Bonaventure University ...