– By Alfred Delp. Excerpted from Alfred Delp’s diary entry, January 1, 1945. 

Jesus. The name of our Lord and of my Order [The Society of Jesus] shall be the first word I write in the New Year. The name stands for all the things I desire when I pray, believe and hope; for inner and outer redemption; for relaxation of all the selfish tensions and limitations I place in the way of the free dialogue with God, all the barriers to voluntary partnership and surrender without reserve: and for a speedy release from these horrible fetters. The whole situation is so palpably unjust; things I have neither done nor even known about are keeping me here in prison. ”

The name Jesus stands also for all that I intended to do in the world, and still hope to do among mankind. To save, to stand by ready to give immediate help, to have goodwill towards all men, and to serve them. I still owe much to so many.

And in conclusion the Order, too, is embraced in my invocation of this name – the Order which has admitted me to its membership. May it be personified in me. I have pledged myself to Jesus as his loving comrade and blood-brother.

The Name stands for passionate faith, submission, selfless effort and service.

From The Prison Meditations of Father Alfred Delp, first published in German as Im Angesicht des Todes by Verlag Josef Knechr, Carolusdruckerei, Frankfurt am Main,1958. First English edition © 1962 by Bloomsbury Publishing Co. Ltd. (New York: Herder and Herder,1963). Photo: Gedenktafel Alfred Delp in C7, 1-4, Mannheim, 2012-04-28 Graf Foto 


See a selection of prison meditations written by Alfred Delp