A Good Example from Blessed Franz Jagerstatter:
Blessed Franz Jagerstatter was a Catholic Austrian under Nazi German occupation during World War II. Franz believed it would be a sin to fight on the side of the Nazis and so he refused to do so. He chose to stand firm in the truth of his Catholic faith and, as a result, was imprisoned and ultimately beheaded by guillotine on August 9, 1943. Franz was 36-years-old at the time of his earthly death. He left a wife and three daughters (the oldest being only five).
Blessed Franz Jagerstatter spent months in prison prior to his execution. During his captivity, he wrote a series of letters to his wife, often beginning with the salutation “Dearest wife, Love of my heart!”
Here is an excerpt of one such letter, written on April 9, 1943 (their seven year wedding anniversary):
“Dearest wife, exactly seven years ago today, in the presence of God and of the priest, we promised that we would love each other and be faithful. I believe that we have faithfully kept this promise to this day, and I believe that God will continue to grant us the grace, even though we are now separated, to remain true to this promise until the end of our life…Dearest wife, why should the future be so dreadful for us, since he who has preserved and blessed us thus far will not abandon us now, if only we don’t forget to thank him and don’t grow weary in striving for heaven. Then our happiness will endure into all eternity. Even though I am now sitting behind prison walls, I nevertheless believe that I can continue to build upon your love and fidelity, and even if I depart from this life before you, then even beyond the grave as well.”
How Will I Apply This? (The Challenge):
Step 1: I will write down and commit to a definite day and time when I will “plant seat in chair” and write a love letter to my wife (within the next 48 hours).
Step 2: When writing, I will follow the format of Blessed Franz in his letter above: gratefully remember our time together from our wedding day until now, offer some present encouragement, and share my dreams for our time together from now into eternity.
Step 3: I will give the letter to my wife as a sincere sign of my love and affection for her.
- I may remember some great moments with my wife that I have not thought of in a while – refreshing my heart in the joy that we have shared over the years.
- I may grow in my appreciation of my wife – increasing my focus on her many strengths and gifts.
- I may strengthen my vision for seeing our earthly lives in the context of eternity – more firmly anchoring our future in Christ.
Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, pray for us!