a magnificat night

we sing for all the unsung saints
that countless, nameless throng,
who kept the faith and passed it on
with hope steadfast and strong
through all the daily griefs and joys
no chronicles record,
forgetful of their lack of fame
but mindful of their Lord.

so we take heart from unknown saints
bereft of earthly fame,
those faithful ones who have received 
a more enduring name:
for they reveal true blessing comes
when we our pride efface
and offer back our lives to be
the vessels of God's grace.

- hymn, sung to the tune of I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

After putting the boys to bed, Sean and I cleaned up the toy hurricane, did the dishes, then made a pot of Sleepytime tea and sat down with books.

This almost never happens at our house.

But tonight, for whatever reason, on Holocaust Memorial Day, it did. Instead of plowing through more of Mansfield Park, I picked up the January Magnificat. That hymn above followed today's reflection, written by Father Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit condemned to death by Nazis in Berlin.

"We are today--individually and collectively--fainting from want and loss of blood. 
Things have gone so far that no one can help us any more... Our last resource is to turn to the creative Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which is ready and willing to pour on us the healing power of our Father, God.

The worst wounds that can be inflicted on humans... are those of evil. When faith wavers, hope disappears, love grows cold, adoration ceases, doubt nags and the whole life is shrouded like a winter landscape in snow... 
That is the time to get into reverse, and let the Holy Spirit work from within building up a new life. 

If I had tried to cope with all this mountain of trouble unaided I should have reached the end of my tether long ago. Natural logic keeps forcing its evil conclusions, like poison, on one's consciousness. 
To counter them one has to apply the logic of healing, of guidance and submission, on which decisions can be based when they have been patiently arrived at through prayer.

The Holy Spirit constantly helps me 
over my hurdles in the small hours."

How many "small hours" must Fr. Delp have endured before going to his final reward. I think about the things I consider to be "mountains of trouble" in my life. Compared to Fr. Delp's, they are mere pebbles. Heaven must be full of these unsung saints, who bore their trials without fanfare, without blog posts.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. How amazing that his writings survived! That was surely God's hand to give guidance and comfort to those who would otherwise never imagine the extremes of suffering that Father Delp and his fellow prisoners underwent, and God's resources that preserved his faith in the midst of that suffering and are available to us all.