Above: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Stamp
Image in the Public Domain
DIETRICH BONHOEFFER (FEBRUARY 4, 1906-APRIL 9, 1945)
German Lutheran Martyr
Instead of writing a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I refer you, O reader, to the following links:
Now I reflect on his legacy.
Bonhoeffer opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler, who sought to make Germany great again and wrecked the country and committed genocide in the process. This opposition made our saint an associate of men who plotted to assassinate Hitler.
Sometimes making moral choices is relatively easy. Much–perhaps most–of the time, however, life exists in shades of gray, not black and white. Much of the time the best we can do is to select the least bad choice. The fact that this is true as often as it is indicates that we live in a world in which sin has infected social institutions. Bonhoeffer found himself in a difficult situation not of his making. In that context he made the best choice he could. That led to his execution shortly before the fall of the Third Reich.
Bonhoeffer understood that grace is free yet costly. We cannot purchase grace yet it does require a response. That response in the life of our saint led to martyrdom. As Bonhoeffer wrote,
When Christ calls a man to follow him, he bids him come and die.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MARCH 24, 2017 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF BLESSED OSCAR ROMERO AND THE MARTYRS OF EL SALVADOR
THE FEAST OF SAINT DIDACUS JOSEPH OF CADIZ, CAPUCHIN FRIAR
THE FEAST OF PAUL COUTURIER, APOSTLE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY
THE FEAST OF THOMAS ATTWOOD, FATHER OF MODERN CHURCH MUSIC
Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, you gave grace to your servant
Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ,
and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example,
may receive your word and embrace its call with an undivided heart:
through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
—Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 317