Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, you gave grace to your servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and to teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example, may receive your word and embrace its call with an undivided heart; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Pastor, Theologian, and Martyr. He fought for the civil rights of all Germans, especially Jews, and worked in the resistance against Hitler’s regime. He was arrested in April of 1943 for “rescuing Jews.” After the failed assassination attempt against Hitler on July 20, 1944, they realized how involved he was in resistance circles. He was hung with his brother-in-law on April 9, 1945. He sent a message to his friend, Bishop George Bell in England: “This is the end, for me the beginning of life.”

Who Am I?
A Poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written in Tegel Prison, and dated July 9, 1944

Who am I? They often tell me
I would step from my cell's confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would talk to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
as though it were mine to command.

Whom am I? They also tell me
I would bear the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which others tell of?
Or am I only what I know of myself,
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling from breath,
as though hands were compressing my throat,
yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation,
tossing in expectation of great events,
powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.


Matty Boy said...

Obviously, Pastor Bonhoeffer was acquainted with my friend, hypothetical question asker.

Though I think he got along better with his than I get along with mine.

johnieb said...


pardon me, but Bonhoeffer was martyred in 1945, only days before the surrender in May.

May his witness to Jesus Christ continue to bless all creation.

Padre Mickey said...

Thanks for catching that, johnieb. It has been corrected.

FranIAm said...

Beautiful post Mickey, thank you.

I See You!

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