A flare-path for advent

Continuing the Delp theme

Those of you who visited this blog on the first Sunday of Advent will have encountered one of my theological heroes – Alfred Delp. This courageous young Jesuit captured the theological essence of advent from his prison cell with a brilliance like no other. At the time, I mentioned the idea of creating an advent calendar which might incorporate these tiny explosions of theological clarity. When advent has particular challenges, be they of stamina or hope, these insights might be like a flare path to guide the weary traveller home to Christmas.

I have now bought an advent calendar with 24 pockets. I have cut 24 pieces of card to fit those pockets. I have selected 24 phrases from Delp’s book, Advent of the heart. This is where you come in. I believe that the calendar would be far more powerful as a ‘tapestry of hope’ if each phrase were written in a different hand. Could you pick a phrase, write it out (by hand) , and add a photo via the comments box below or tweet the picture via @richardlittleda ?  Between us we could create something rather special, I think.

I will then post pictures of each one on the relevant day through advent next year. Care to help me light a flare path. Pick a phrase from the 24 below, and then send your photo in using the ‘upload image’ button below the comments box.

Thank you – and may your advent be filled with hope.


1.     In Advent an expectation becomes tangible, breaking through all encrustation, calling inflexibility into question

2.     Man is a creature of Advent. He is under way.

3.     The golden threads running between Heaven and earth during this season reach us;

4.     The threads that give the world a hint of the abundance to which it is called, the abundance of which it is capable.

5.     I understand very differently than before those ancient promises of the coming Lord who will redeem us and set us free.

6.     To wait in faith, for the fruitfulness of the silent earth and for the abundance of the coming harvest,

7.     Advent centres on fundamental principles and fundamental attitudes of our lives, of life in general, and of existence in general.

8.     He is dependent upon an angel approaching and touching him with the wing-stroke reminder of a higher message.

9.     Set up lights of recognition in our lives, and, from the center, master life’s gloominess.

10.    Light the candles wherever you can, you who have them.

11.    The prayers and messages of Advent push man out beyond every surface

12.      Advent means remembering the freedom of God and then abandoning ourselves to the divine unpredictability.

13.      So Advent means a heart that is awake and ready,

14.       Advent is one of the primeval tides of the human soul

15.      If man sets out upon this Advent road, he will be granted the great encounter.

16.      The promises of God stand above us, more valid than the stars and more effective than the sun.

17.       Once we accept the night, light will come.

18.       In the darkest cellars and the loneliest prisons of life, we will meet Him.

19.       Let us hike and journey onward, neither avoiding nor shunning the streets and terror of life.

20.      Something new has been born in us, and we do not want to tire of believing the star

21.      How would our own lives, and life in general, be different if we remembered that life’s greatest hour was when God became man, a child?

22.    God becomes man. Man does not become God.

23.     Let us trust life because this night must lead to light.

24.     You must let people notice that you know about the end and have grasped that one of the essential features of life is called advent.

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