Lent with Bonhoeffer – Friday, February 22, 2013

by xcrawford

Daily Office Readings (NT and Gospel)

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 ESV)
Since we have Jesus as a High Priest, we can go straight to the Mercy Seat of God and find Grace. Before Christ’s sacrifice, people had to have a High Priest to act as an intercessor. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple. The High Priest would go in as a representative of the people. It was dangerous because the priest, if not properly prepared, could loose his life. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that, since Christ is our High Priest, we don’t need that human intercessor any more. We can go to the Throne of Grace and receive mercy. Jesus, as High Priest, opens the path to mercy, because He understands that humans will fail – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15 ESV). John the Baptist shows his submission to Christ, The High Priest, in today’s Gospel reading. When some of his followers complained that people were following Jesus and being baptized by Jesus and his disciples, John the Baptist responded- “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all (John 3:30-31 ESV). Even though man is inherently flawed, through submission to Christ, we can approach the Throne of God and receive mercy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer-

Honors Spring Lecture: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Letters and Papers From Prison

Middle Tennessee University ­­­ – Dr. John Vile

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prison writings show that he most certainly did not believe in “God is Dead” theology.
His letters consistently included references to relying on God for strength and knowing he was not alone in his prison cell for Christ was with him. He also put faith in the knowledge that even though he was suffering that he belonged to God- “They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, Oh God­ I am Thine.” Knowing that his execution was immanent, he wrote that he awaited “the Supreme Festival on the Road to Freedom.”
Ultimately, it seemed that his biggest regret was not being able to do something more useful for the Kingdom. However, he did see the “spiritual warfare” aspect of the time he spent praying and writing letters from Flossenbürg Concentration Camp -as seen in the letter to his parents on September 13, 1943-  “I wish I could be doing useful service somewhere or other, but at present that ‘somewhere’ must be in the prison cell, and what I do here makes its contribution in the unseen world, a sphere where the word ‘do’ is quite unsuitable.”

Litany of Humility by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me
the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

A preview of Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer can be found at Google Books

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