Sunday, July 31, 2011

Under the standard of the Cross.

For the second year running, I'm marking the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the deutsche Sprachraum. Last year on this date, I was in Innsbruck; this year, I'm celebrating our founder's feast day in Munich. My itinerary for this afternoon includes a visit to the tomb of Father Rupert Mayer, seen above in a Nazi-era mug shot.

A German Jesuit who won great affection and respect as a preacher and retreat director in interwar Munich, Rupert Mayer eventually gained an even wider reputation as an outspoken foe of Adolf Hitler. Father Mayer's opposition to National Socialism led to his detention in a concentration camp and later house arrest at a Benedictine monastery; his mug shot is featured above. Father Mayer lived just long enough to see the defeat of Nazism, felled by a stroke a little less than six months after the death of Hitler. Rupert Mayer was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987, and his grave in the crypt of Munich's Bürgersaalkirche remains a popular shrine and a place of pilgrimage.

After paying my respects to my brother Jesuit Rupert Mayer, I plan to head to the Perlacher Friedhof in southeastern Munich to visit the graves of the three young people seen above: siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friend Christoph Probst, members of an anti-Nazi student group called Die Weiße Rose who were executed in February 1943. Some readers probably know a bit of this story from the 2005 film Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage or from other sources; some may also recall that Christoph Probst figured in an earlier post on this blog.

When I told some of the Jesuits in my community in Vienna that my most significant plan for my brief time in Munich was to see the graves of Rupert Mayer, Christoph Probst and the Scholls, one of my companions remarked that the trip sounded like a pilgrimage. In a sense, it is a pilgrimage - and, I believe, a very fitting one for St. Ignatius' Day. To round out this post, here is a prayer attributed to Rupert Mayer, first in the original German and then in my own English translation (not quite word-for-word, but hopefully faithful to the sense of the original; I'll happily accept any critiques and corrections):

Herr, wie Du willst, so will ich geh’n,
Und wie Du willst, soll mir gescheh’n.
Hilf Deinen Willen nur versteh’n.

Herr, wann Du willst, dann ist es Zeit,
Und wann Du willst, bin ich bereit.
Heut und in alle Ewigkeit.

Herr, was Du willst, das nehm’ ich hin,
Und was Du willst, ist mir Gewinn.
Genug, dass ich Dein Eigen bin.

Herr, weil Du's willst, d’rum ist es gut,
Und weil Du's willst, d’rum hab’ ich Mut.
Mein Herz in Deinen Händen ruht.


Lord, what you want for me is what I want,
and what you want is what must happen to me;
Help me only to understand your will.

Lord, when you want is the time,
and when you want, I'll be ready,
today and forever.

Lord, what you want for me is what I'll take,
and whatever you want for me is my gain;
it is enough for me that I am yours.

Lord, because you want it, so it is good;
because you want it, I will have courage,
for my heart rests in your hands.

On this Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, may the words of this prayer be our own. AMDG.


At 7/31/2011 7:56 AM, Blogger Robin said...

Happy Feast Day, Joe.

With the cemetery in Wernersville open after last year's renovations, I was able to visit Walter Ciszek's grave this month. I'm glad that you have the opportunity for your own pilgrimage (and appreciate the history you're sharing).

At 4/18/2012 8:36 AM, Anonymous Mark Bennett said...

Fr Mayer's prayer to me is the absolute essence of pure faith and trust in God. Like him, it has no frills and fuss, just a relationship with the Father that is total and complete.Beautiful.


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