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Engelbert Krebs, "On the Meaning of Sacrifice" ["Vom Opfersinn"] (1914-1915)

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The sacrificial love of God proves itself in charity. It proves itself as well, however, in something else that this war has inflicted on us amply: it proves itself in patience and suffering. We say so often: the Fatherland demands many sacrifices of us in this war. – In truth, dearly beloved, God demands it. He has given us our brothers, whom He has called back from us in this war. He has given us fathers, sons, friends, and loved ones, whom he now demands back. He has given us our life itself, which he now wishes to see offered up by so many. He has given us our possessions, which he has suddenly taken from so many. In suffering and enduring, all of us have had to sacrifice in this war. Let us make sacrifices with heartfelt simplicity, saying with David: “Everything is Thine. Therefore I have gladly sacrificed everything to Thee.”

[ . . . ]

Yes, dearly beloved, let us be serious in this prayer that Jesus has taught us to say: “Lord, Thy will be done.” And let us gladly say it with the simplicity of an upright heart, following the Master who, sweating blood in his torment, said: “Father, not my will, but Thy will be done.” (Luke 22, 42)

Should all the bloodily sacrifice of the war reawaken this word in many of the hearts that have been affected by it, and should it cause them to make it the basis of their whole lives, then the earth would be more beautiful after this war than before, despite all the devastation, for it would be more like Christ, its Savior.

Source: Engelbert Krebs, "Vom Opfersinn" ["On the Meaning of Sacrifice"], in Joseph Schofer, ed., Die Kreuzesfahne im Völkerkrieg: Erwägung, Ansprachen und Predigten [The Cross Flag in Civil War: Contemplations, Speeches, and Sermons]. 8 volumes, Freiburg, 1914-1915. Vol. 8, pp. 71-72, 77-78, 79.

Translation: Jeffrey Verhey and Roger Chickering

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