It is April 1945, and the bombs are reigning down on the city of Berlin. Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit priest, is sitting in a Nazi prison. He’s been found guilty of treason in a mockery of a trial where trumped-up charges were thrown at him. Even though the War is all but lost, the Nazi propaganda machine still grinds on. And so, Fr. Delp is awaiting execution.
As he sits in prison, he’s praying. He’s praying a prayer that he just wrote. Here’s how it goes:
Lord, you have created me to do some definite service. You have committed some work to me that you have not given to anyone else. Whatever may happen, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve you. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve you. You do nothing in vain. You know what you are doing, therefore, I will trust you.
What great faith to be able to write a prayer like that given the circumstances that this Jesuit priest found himself in! Instead of fear, he is still focusing on God’s purpose for his life. What kind of a relationship did this man have with Christ that he could face death so peacefully?
What kind of a relationship do you have with God? Where do you stand with the Lord? How do you look at your life and your relationship with one another and with God? Do you think that you are just making decisions for yourself and don’t have to be accountable to anyone to God? Do you think that life is all about relying on self? A person who writes a prayer like Alfred Delp certainly looks at life in a very different way. What did he write: If in perplexity, my perplexity may serve you. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve you. You know what you are doing, I will trust you. The emphasis is on God’s purposes.
As we acknowledge God as Father, Son, and Spirit—-one God, three persons—-we also acknowledge that it was God who gave us life. We just didn’t “happen”. And just as the Trinity is about relationships, our God wants to have a relationship with us. So, the closer we get to the Father, Son and Spirit, the better we understand what God has in mind for us, the clearer we begin to understand his will for us; the more confidence we have in Him.
In our younger years, we think that we can set out goals, control our destiny, measure our success by the standards of the world. Get somewhere in life. When we are older, even with our successes, we begin to feel that there’s something missing. Eventually we realize that we are settling for far less than what it is that God is offering.
And as our perspective changes, we see more and more that God is with us and around us. There’s more to life than just me and my problems—-my ups and downs. We start to love the way that Christ taught us: by doing what is best for the other person.
Holy Trinity. Relationship. Love. Believe in God. Place your life in his hands. Remember the words of Fr Delp. You did not create me without purpose…therefore I will trust you.