Quote/s of the Day – 21 May – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter and the Memorial of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter OFS (1907-1943) Layman Martyr “The Man Who Would Not Bow His Head to Hitler.”
“If the Church stays silent
in the face of what is happening,
what difference would it make,
if no church were ever opened again?”
His sacrifice was uniformly regarded as foolish by his neighbours and his story almost forgotten but for a book written by an American, Gordon Zahn, who heard of Jagerstatter when researching the subject of German Catholics’ response to Hitler.
This book, In Solitary Witness, influenced Daniel Ellsberg’s decision to stand against the Vietnam War by bringing the Pentagon Papers to public attention. The following quote, taken from one of Jagerstatter’s last letters while in prison.
“Just as the man who thinks only of this world, does everything possible to make life here easier and better, so must we, too, who believe in the eternal Kingdom, risk everything in order to receive a great reward there.
Just as those who believe in National Socialism tell themselves that their struggle is for survival, so must we, too, convince ourselves that our struggle is for the eternal Kingdom.
But with this difference – we need no rifles or pistols for our battle but instead, spiritual weapons – and the foremost among these is prayer…. Through prayer, we continually implore new grace from God, since without God’s help and grace it would be impossible for us to preserve the Faith and be true to His commandments….”
“Let us love our enemies,
bless those who curse us,
pray for Those who persecute us.
For love will conquer
and will endure for all eternity.
And happy are they who live
and die in God’s love.”
“I can say from my own experience
how painful life often is,
when one lives as a halfway Christian-
it is more like vegetating than living.”
“We are not dealing with a small matter
but the great (apocalyptic)
life and death struggle has already begun.
Yet in the midst of it, there are many,
who still go on living their lives
as though nothing had changed … “
“I am convinced that it is still best
that I speak the truth,
even though it costs me my life.
For you will not find it written
in any of the commandments of God
or of the Church,
that a man is obliged under pain of sin,
to take an oath committing him to obey
whatever might be commanded him by his secular ruler. “
“Since the death of Christ,
almost every century has seen the persecution of Christians,
there have always been heroes
and martyrs who gave their lives –
often in horrible ways –
for Christ and their faith.
If we hope to reach our goal some day,
then we, too, must become heroes of the faith.”
“I cannot believe that,
just because one has a wife and children,
a man is free to offend God.”
“I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away,
than to place oneself in the grave danger
of committing sin and then dying.”
Blessed Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943)
“Called-up to a Higher Order”
Martyr of Conscientious Objection