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„With a sentiment of total sacrifice for Him“

Vicar Hermann Lange to bishop Berning

Hamburg, 10th of November, 1943

Your Excellency, my dear Father!

I believe that I may, in these solemn hours when I stand at the threshold of death, address You in this cordial fashion. Is it not only just now that I begin to realise the beautiful relationship between a bishop and his priests. As always these days, so I am reminded especially now of the relationship between Paul and Timothy.

In these last hours of my life which are still allowed me, my thoughts go back to that beautiful time of my priestly mission, when I was allowed, though but in a small way, to contribute to the building of God’s realm. Admittedly, much of what I did and worked, was faulty, - but the good intention was there, and that, after all, matters before God.

Thus, when I greet You now in my last hours of this life, then I do it in the spirit of filial love and devotion. How I would have loved to continue working with Your guidance, however, there are limits to our human aspirations. The will of God is, after all, our most supreme commandment. To know, that one is as one with Him, that is the last and most profound gratification. With a sentiment of total sacrifice for him, I place my short life back in His hands. “Life for me is Christ, Dying the Prize!“ He, who gave me faith, also gives me the strength to overcome the last and most difficult, calmly, strong and joyously. “ I can do everything in Him, who strengthens me“. Still now, Your words „Victor, quia victima“ echo in my mind and find an exultant supplement in Paul’s “Death, where is your thorn, Death, where you victory?” – May I ask You to write for my dear parents a few comforting words of solace; I believe they need it. In the spirit of a son of Christ, I greet you from the threshold of death.

In His love I commend myself for Your intercession.

Your devoted Hermann Lange


English Translation: Hans-Heinrich Boeker, Wyoming, Australia