This post continues Alfred Delp’s prison meditations on the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It completes his introduction on the Litany–the Heart of Jesus: Son of the Living Father. The very beginning of his prison meditations on this devotion can be found here: Theology of the Heart of Jesus.
[Translated from Alfred Delp: Gesammelte Schriften IV: Aus dem Gefängnis]
[Berlin-Tegel Prison; November, 1944]
The invocations of the Litany determine the subject, or more precisely, the object of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Four findings are in store for us in these invocations, which have to be emphasized and processed internally.
The heart: here we call upon the love of God as we do in the entire liturgy. The heart is the symbol of the inner most core of God and His quintessential relationship to us.
Whoever does not believe and think this of God, should not pray further, because they would not be able to bear the words that he/she says.
One must be able to say briefly that which theology knows of the Son. Only this one point is noted as significant for the entire prayer: the Son is the place of security—the homeland for the world. The Word carries the images, whose shadows we are. He has always been God’s decision for the world.
Heart of the living Father: ever real religious call must advance until the last. Whatever stops before this is often solely the result of the stubbornness of early lies, misapprehension, and delusions.
Here especially life is in such a way simple and simultaneously complex that one must always at least intend the whole when it comes to attitude and openness. In the devotion to the Heart of Jesus the power and the seriousness of the comforting message and, hence, the depth and elevation of consolation becomes ever greater, the more we recognize the order of God.
The religious significance of the first invocation for us is manifold. The basic attitudes of fear and, above all, of cautious reverence are the first requirements to an authentic prayer.
It is about the faithful recognizing the love of God, of His salvation for us people. Only those who know and confess this, can honestly say, “Have mercy on us.”
It is about a personal relationship between the 2nd person of the Trinity and the human person—me. The uniqueness of the Christian religion lies in the fact that its association to Christ codetermines every reality of life, tempers it interiorly, consecrates it, and above all else, enables and creates it.
Therefore, it is about a relationship of personal intimacy between Christ and me. That the secret words are spoken back and forth and a genuine supreme love flows from the heart of mankind and finds the heart of God in order to discover everything—the call and the awakening and the capacity to remain en route until home—that all this was the merciful and creative call of the divine heart.