Taking a break from Alfred Delp’s diary jottings of his experience on tertianship [the school of the heart], I resume my posting of Alfred Delp’s prison meditation on the devotion of the Sacred Heart. This post takes off from his Theology of the Heart of Jesus and it introduces his reflections on the Litany of the Heart of Jesus. This part is called: the Heart of Jesus–Son of the Living Father.
The Litany of the Heart of Jesus is largely from J. Croiset SJ (1636-1738) and was approved by Leo XIII in 1899.
[translated from Alfred Delp: Gesammelte Schriften Band IV: Aus dem Gefängnis]
Berlin–Tegel Prison, November 1944
Herz Jesu des Sohnes des ewigen Vaters
One can sense in the Litany that under the caring charge of the Church it has not developed not as much from the free lyrical abundance of praying hearts as other litanies. That was also very much needed in this case. Indeed, when it comes to devotion to the Heart of Jesus, in spite of all the freedom of the heart, it truly depends on a theological exactness. Unfortunately, the guardians and advocates of theological exactness have often blocked the way to an abundance because of their own sentences and formulations.
The individual appeals of the litany can almost all be found or proven somewhere in texts, tradition, in classical witnesses of prayer, and so on. The litany necessitates two ways of adopting and internalizing if one intends to pray correctly and from the heart: the real factual knowledge of theological statement which takes place in the appeal and the implementation of this theological statement in personal piety.
In this way the litany is a good and successful school of religiousness and prayer, especially for modern individuals. As you know, modern religiousness suffers largely from two basic evils. Either it is caught up/bogged down in thought, in reflection, in philosophy, or in theology; the end that leads to personal fulfillment does not happen here. This religiousness is without a decision and without a heart.
As a result, Christianity in Europe has dropped out of the influential circles of power. Or, that other basic evil, which is one of thoughtless piety, pure show, pure convention, movement and excitement of emotions. This religiousness is inhuman and subhuman, and very often a stage of development to complete ungodliness. Spirit and God are so closely related with one another, that the one calls the other and that neither one can be if the other is not appreciated.
The religious ignorance–pious and impious–has achieved a significant destruction of western civilization and peoples. That being said, the issue of who allowed peoples to reach this ignorance is again a question, in and of itself.
to be continued…