Daily Reading for November 29
Advent, despite all earnestness, is a time of refuge because it has received a message. Oh, if people know nothing about the message and the promises anymore, if they only experience the four walls and the prison windows of their gray days, and no longer perceive the quiet footsteps of the announcing angels, if the angels’ murmured word does not simultaneously shake us to the depths and lift up our souls—then it is over for us. Then we are living wasted time, and we are dead, long before they do anything to us.
To believe in the golden seeds of God that the angels have scattered and continue to offer an open heart are the first things we must do with our lives. And the next is to go through these gray days as announcing messengers ourselves. So much courage needs strengthening; so much despair needs comforting; so much hardship needs a gentle hand and illuminating interpretation; so much loneliness cries out for a liberating word; so much loss and pain seek a spiritual meaning. God’s messengers know about the blessing that the Lord God has planted, even within these historic times. To wait in faith, for the fruitfulness of the silent earth and for the abundance of the coming harvest, means to understand the world—even this world—in Advent. To wait in faith—no longer because we trust the earth or the stars or our temperament and good courage—but only because we have perceived God’s messages and know about His announcing angels, and even have encountered one. . . .
The sounds of devastation and destruction, the cries of self-importance and arrogance, the weeping of despair and powerlessness still fill the world. Yet, standing silently, all along the horizon are the eternal realities with their age-old longing. The first gentle light of the glorious abundance to come is already shining above them. From out there, the first sounds are ringing out like shepherds’ flutes and a boys’ choir singing. They do not yet form a song or melody—it is all still too far off and only the first announcement and intimation. Still, it is happening. This is today. And tomorrow the angels will relate loudly and jubilantly what has happened, and we will know it and will be blessed if we have believed and trusted in Advent.
From “Figures of Advent” by Alfred Delp, S.J., written in Tegel Prison, Berlin, December 1944, quoted in Advent of the Heart: Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings, 1941-1944 by Alfred Delp, edited by Roman Bleistein, S.J. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006).