Delp’s Diary from the Spiritual Exercises 1 Nov 1938 [Part 2]

This is the second half of Delp’s diary entry on 1 November 1938. The jottings were written when Delp was in the last stage of Jesuit formation, which is called tertianship, and while he was undergoing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. This last stage is understood as the “school of the heart.”

Ignatius writes of the goals of tertianship in the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus:

sacred_heart…after those who were sent to studies have achieved the diligent and careful formation of the intellect by learning, they will find it helpful during the period of last probation to apply themselves in the school of the heart, by exercising themselves in spiritual and corporal pursuits which can engender in them greater humility, abnegation of all sensual love and will and judgement of their own, and also greater knowledge and love of God our Lord: that when they themselves have made greater progress they can better help others to progress for glory to God our Lord.”


I aim to translate more of Delp’s diary entries from his time in the school of the heart.


[translated from Alfred Delp: Gesammelte Schriften: Band I: Geistliche Schriften]

1 November 1938; Vorarlberg, Austria

…. A man before his God. A man does not just dream and play around. He requires serious, honest, and genuine labor.

He takes the supernatural order and judgment seriously. He sees through nature—properly arranged and subordinated—and sacrifice.

I must get away from myself—and learn how to serve and sacrifice. I am a great egoist.

Bring the goodness of God to people. Learn to love with Jesus Christ on the way of the Cross. Pay attention to people, because God loves them. Take seriously the call/vocation to perfection. I have been created and called to the love of God, service for God, for joy in God.

Discipline and consistency in the things of order, work, thinking and praying. Nurture the energy, not to prosecute, but to evangelize. First and foremost, however, find physical rest.

Be generous and passionate for all those interested in God. Above all, have an open heart and be good.

Personally pray. Pray more and pray honestly. Contemplate intellectually.

Maintain trust in the Lord God; live and build on it. Guiding mercy: trust and love. Interiority: the way from the outside to the inside.

My life has appeared to me in another light and has pointed in this other light and in another contour. I must rethink many things. Much has been done and understood incorrectly. God has been good, merciful, and patient with me. Has led me through many maelstroms and past many cliffs. But now the journey must be considered with a clear and honest view.

I have lived too much on the exterior—too much in the diaspora of the soul. From things and distractions, I am scattered.

The home is inside where the soul and God meet. Therefore, now, the new life begins with adoration of the Trinity, which attends in me. It gives to the eye a keen vision and to the heart security and a home.

I was not just outside, I was confused, too. The autonomous, superior, and absolute validity of the supernatural was not strong and sufficiently clear enough in my consciousness. He is on whom it depends. The metanoia must happen; I must rethink.

The supernatural, however, is not a system, but the intimate tri-personal God as revealed in Christ. My piety must become a personal relationship with my God; to personally pray and speak with Him. I must let go of the piety and the call, etc. the burdens and the anxieties, that I have had up until now. It is not only a task, a responsibility, and a sorrow, but it concerns friendship, joy, and goodness.

The true man is a Lover. Only he can be the full man. I am so poor and small and nothing, because I have loved so little. I must let go of myself and give myself away.

A large heart for God and for people—an open heart to surrender, to serve, to give away, to sacrifice. All of this with a strong intention. The time of dreaming and dallying is over. Deep piety. One catches hold of gladness, joy, and passion before God and consequently perseveres in His power.

Everything is grounded on God’s grace and mercy. You will lead me, I must listen to you. He will lead me, I must trust Him. Life ceases being a lonesome and laborious monologue, it becomes a dialogue, it becomes more: Cor ad Cor loquitor.

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