Tuesday, December 3, 2013

the wilderness

Woodcut by Harlan Hubbard
Father Alfred Delp SJ
"The wilderness has a necessary function in life.  'Abandonment' one of my friends called it and the word is very apt.  Abandonment to wind and weather and day and night and all the intervening hours.  And abandonment to the silence of God, the greatest abandonment of all.  The virtue that thrives most on it -- patience -- is the most necessary of all virtues that spring from the heart -- and the Spirit. 
"Please don't think I am trying to write an ode to the wilderness.  Anyone who has ever had to encounter and withstand a wilderness must have a healthy respect for it -- and must speak of it with the reserve that prompts a man to hide his wounds and his weaknesses.  It is a great place for thinking things out, for recognizing facts, for getting new light on problems and for reaching decisions.  A heavy load brings the ship low in the water but it also keeps her steady.  The wilderness represents the law of endurance, the firmness that makes a man.  It is the quiet corner reserved for tears, prayers for help, humiliations, terror.  But it is part of life and to try to avoid it only postpones the trial."

- Fr. Alfred Delp SJ, “The Prison Meditations of Father Alfred Delp”, p.97. 1963 Herder and Herder New York
See also: The Prison Meditations of Father Delp

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