Who would have guessed that encouraging words would come from Christopher Hitchens? Yesterday he announced on CNN that Al Qaida has been defeated in Iraq. Sometimes we are embarrassed at the prayers in the Psalms for the destruction of one’s enemies; but when you have an enemy as hideous as Al Qaida it’s easier to be sympathetic with those prayers.
I’ve been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison; and I just received a copy of the prison correspondence between him and his fiancée Maria Von Wedemeyer. To respect her own privacy and his memory she donated her collection of letters to Harvard university but requested that they not be published until after her death. The letters were published in 1992.
In one letter she expresses her exuberance at receiving a letter from her beloved prisoner. I think her joy comes through without even a translation:
Hurra, Hurra, Hurra, Hoch, Vivat und Halleluja! Ich hab einen Brief von meinem Dietrich . . . Mein liebster Dietrich . . .
Shortly before he was arrested, Bonhoeffer wrote a reflection “After Ten Years” of resistance against the German Christian’s accommodation to the Nazi regime. Here are a few thoughts from this meditation:
Time lost is time in which we have failed to live a full human life, gain experience, learn, create, enjoy, and suffer; it is time that has not been filled up, but left empty. These last years have certainly not been like that. Our losses have been great and immeasurable, but time has not been lost. . .
One cannot write about these things without a constant sense of gratitude for the fellowship of spirit and community of life that have been proved and preserved throughout these years.