Tag Archives: Fr. Alfred Delp

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Cry of the True Self

‘I know that only the LordGod can and will loose my fetters and open my door, and that only His creative storm will unfurl my flag once again…’ FR Alfred Delp

In the film ‘Before Sunset’, Ethan Hawke muses to an ex-lover as to why he left her for another in order to become a husband then father: ‘I chose my best self over my honest one.’ Moments later, ‘honesty’ overtakes him and he tumbles into bed with his old flame.

Much is made today about such ‘honesty’—as if getting real with your bad self is virtuous. We portray ‘best’ selves as sexless and stodgy; ‘honest’ selves warrant sweeping sound-tracks and soft porn montages. Raising the banner of authenticity, men and women break their vows to God and each other in order to fuse with a sweeter fix. ‘To thine own self be true’ is the adulterer’s creed–forsaking all others for a better conversation or orgasm.

So Sue ditches husband and kids for Jim. Or for Jenny. Gender does not matter much here; what does is waking up for a few mornings with someone who ‘gets you’ and is happy for you ‘to get’him or her, sensationally.

Authentic adultery. We’ve all encountered it with close friends and possibly came close to agreeing with:‘That marriage died a long time ago; finally she found her soul-mate’, or ‘He’s always been gay and now is free…’ When we romanticize the needs of one to the exclusion of others, we contribute to the abandonment of a host of dependents who actually need Mom and Dad to reach for their best.

Advent provokes us to become our best. John the Baptist heralds the true self based wholly on the person of Jesus Christ. He cries out three times and urges us to do the same:‘In your desert, prepare the way of the Lord…In your withering, the Word of God stands forever…Here is your God; He comes with power!’ (IS 40:3-10)

The Baptist, inflamed by the soon-coming King, implored his followers to turn from sin and toward the One who incinerates all falsehood to expose gleaming truth (LK 3: 16, 17). That self emerges only through authentic encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus forges a true self out of our temptations; He summons our best from honest confession of our lower possibilities.

John confronts us with a glimpse of Glory, before whom we flee or surrender. Jesus gives us the choice to agree with Him before He knocks us off our high horse of disordered dreams—myths of contours that complement ours perfectly.

He levels us to the ground in order to raise us according to His best for our lives. This is the authentic self who lives for Him and who endures whatever limits us creatures impose on each other. Love frees us for serving others gratefully. We are most real—mostalive to the truth of who we are–when we live from His wellspring in order to help quench the thirst of others.

From a prison cell on theeve of his execution, Advent ’44, Delp wrote:

‘Human honesty requires man to see himself as a servant and perceive his reality as a mission and an assignment. The idea of authentic service and authentic duty belongs to the essence of man’s self-concept. Anyone who undermines this has smeared his own image and corrupted his own self-knowledge…

What man contributes to his own great liberation into a fulfilled life consists of honest humility, willing openness, readiness to serve, authentic testimony, and praise. If man sets out upon his Advent road, he will be granted the great encounter, for man’s liberation happens as an encounter. God works a multi-faceted liberation within him, meeting him when he rises beyond self in a lived experience of being comforted and uplifted.’ (Advent of the Heart, Ignatius Press)

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Advent: Woes and Warring for Souls

‘Perhaps what we modern people need most is to be genuinely shaken…God permits this whirlwind to go over the earth…This is the first Advent message: before the end, the world will be set quaking.’ FR Alfred Delp

‘The coming of Jesus is fearsome news for everyone with a conscience’, says Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Advent jolts us awake. Rather than lull ourselves to sleep with boozy good cheer, we can rouse ourselves in the electric lights radiating from the gray. God calls us to shine bright for the saving of many lives.

So it was at our Gender Matters Conference in Manila. Between the Feast of St. Andrew and the first Sunday of Advent, hundreds of us packed out a hall in the city center and betrothed ourselves anew to Jesus and His truth for humanity amid a national drive to enslave citizens by guaranteeing ‘rights to gender expression’, aka defy your nature and conjure a false self. The Philippines is poised to become the first nation in Asia to pass a law that grants preferential treatment to the ever-expanding LGBT+ set while imposing extreme penalties for anyone who ‘creates an emotionally distressing environment’ which ‘results in the loss of self-esteem’ for any person flaunting an identity fracture.

The bill is expressly designed to silence any pastor, parent, or friend who casts a vision of gender wholeness for loved ones being tempted by a host of fake identities.

Andrew Speaking at Gender Matters.

Jesus provokes us who have died to these solutions and now live for Him. We cannot celebrate the dead-end of sexualizing our injuries and unmet needs. In truth, we grieve and mourn and cry out for true justice. A godly congress-woman implored us to pray and fight for a delay of the bill which slam dunked the lower house 187-0 and is scheduled to go before the Senate mid-December. Wise senators are working hard for this delay in order to buy time in which to rouse the Church—Philippine’s drowsy, distracted giant.

The Holy Spirit honored our gathering; His Presence summoned fresh repentance and many tears over this delusion and the traditional adulteries that broke ground for this rainbow psychosis. More than anything, we poured out our hearts for a generation who are being entombed by fake identities.

I recalled St. Andrew whose gift to us as the first apostle was a deep, child-like faith in Jesus and an immediate evangelistic impulse. Having beheld the Lamb, he directed his brother Peter to Jesus, declaring ‘We have found the Messiah’ (JN 1:35-42).

St Andrew reminded me that our Philippine advance was not first about politics or theology or psychology—it was for persons doomed to die unless merciful ones, endowed with true vision, direct them to Jesus. Scattered throughout our gathering were wide-eyed gender-benders alongside faithful friends. ‘They’ are us—wounded wonderful persons who will remain slaves until they discover the Father who alone has power to confirm us as His sons and daughters (Gal. 4:3-7).

‘When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand’ (LK 21:28).

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Ignite. Again.

‘Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake!’(Matt. 24:41, 42)

Advent asks us to burn again, to start over, to be born again AGAIN as we await Jesus’ birth. No Hallmark movie this, no happy ending—dull and drowsy ‘Christians’ who do not recognize Him now won’t know Him when He returns.

I would rather prepare now than be left behind. Advent gives us four weeks to get ready. That has little to do with buying gifts and partying with friends. It’s about examining our hearts and how 2016 may well have made us worse, not better.

One gauge for me is how I and others respond to the ‘evolving’ understanding of gender and sexuality today. I just read about a ‘Christian’ blogger—Glennon Doyle Melton–hooking up happily and to the acclaim of thousands (if virtual ‘likes’ count)—with soccer star Abby Wambach who proudly hailed her ‘gay marriage’ to another woman at 2015’s World Cup victory by smooching her ‘spouse’ for the world to see in the glow of the US Supreme Court decision, an iconic union that soon fell apart when Abby disintegrated from drug and alcohol abuse.

Melton left husband for newly available Abby, an infatuation lived loudly before Melton’s kids. (‘We grant adults any kind of sexual liberty they want and insist that children take whatever these adults want to give them.’ Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse) The virtual world lauds these selfish, unstable women as ‘courageous.’

Many women like Melton who profess faith and frustration with men will follow her lead into a sexually fluid, ‘gender-does-not-matter-but-love-does’ mindset. What say you? Is your mind changing in regards to God’s clear mandate (Gen. 1, 2; Matt: 19; Eph. 5) for sexual unions? Are you ‘evolving’?

Wake up. Light the fire again. How else will you be able to hold out the Word of Life for a generation of women morphing into little boys and guys into glamour queens? Do you want them to be left behind? Do you want to be left behind?

Fr. Alfred Delp: ‘Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken into renouncing the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams by which we build ourselves imaginary worlds…Being shattered, being awakened—only with these is life made capable of Advent.’

‘The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber…the night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us act decently, as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in lust and sexual immorality, not in rivalry and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves in the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.’ (Romans 13: 11-14)

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Advent 3: Stealing Beauty

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release for prisoners…’ (IS 61: 1, 2)

When life is firm, we need to sense its firmness; when it has no foundation, we need to know this too…The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams in which we build our own imaginary worlds.’ Fr. Alfred Delp

Historically, our common enemy has done a masterful job of demonizing persons with gender and sexual problems, especially homosexuality, so much so that now we compensate for the damage done by refusing to admit a problem exists at all.

Thinking ourselves just, we actually are robbing men and women of the choice for healing the core issues that underlie disordered desire. Satan has changed his tactics and now captivates the Church with a weak, uninspired approach to sexual brokenness. Jesus no longer heals the brokenhearted; He confirms it as destiny.

For the Church of the 21st century, being ‘born again’ of the Spirit is apparently no match for being ‘born that way.’

We risk losing the power of Incarnational Reality: the truth that the God who became man invites us to partake of His divine nature. At our most recent Living Waters Training, team member Bonnie West made this connection for us. Because God lived a real human life in reliance upon a mother and father and had to progress (as we all must) up the developmental ladder in order to become a whole person, He is able to help us at every point in our own development. That means we can welcome the One who can free us from what has frustrated our maturity. He liberates us to become who and what the Father intends for us.

All time is present to Jesus, so He is not hindered by when the darkness fell; because He is God, He is not hindered by the depth or magnitude of that darkness. His divine power, working incisively in love, is able to meet us at whatever point we stopped becoming the man or woman of God’s design. His gentle, almighty Spirit embraces adult/children-in-distress and coaxes us to resume the journey.

This Advent, St. Paul implores us ‘to not quench the Spirit’ (1Thes. 5:19) while John the Baptist insists we ‘make straight the way of the Lord’ who comes to baptism us in His Spirit (JN 1: 19-28). Skilled caregivers, moving sensitively according to Jesus’ Spirit, can impart a depth of healing to the sexually broken in a manner that can only be attributed to Jesus the Healer.

We defy the power of His Spirit, and of the Incarnation itself, by vaunting the complexities of our sinful conditions over His healing hand. In so doing, we dehumanize the most vulnerable and leech the light from our Redeemer. We steal beauty from both creature and Creator; we unwittingly cooperate with a common enemy who came ‘to steal and kill and destroy.’ Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted, to release poor captives, ‘that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ (JN 10:10)

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