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‘Favourite Heroes and Holy People’ edited by Deborah Cassidi

Heroes 001

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Viktor Frankl, from Man’s Search for Meaning

Extract chosen by Lord Sacks, former Chief Rabbi, who explains his reason for choosing this passage:

‘For me, one of the heroes of the human spirit was Viktor Frankl, who survived Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps, and helped others to survive. On the basis of his experiences he founded a new school of psychotherapy – he called it Logotherapy – the central idea of which is summed up in the title of his most famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frankl rescued people from despair by helping them find a reason to live: a task not yet completed, work still to be done. That sense of a mission not yet fulfilled gave people the strength to carry on. In the quotation I chose he bore witness to the courage of others. He also wrote of how, exhausted, starved and on the brink of death, he brought himself back to life by thinking of his beloved, his wife:

Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: the salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,’The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.

I am lost in admiration for a man who saved the lives of others by giving them hope, and who found a path to heaven at the very gates of hell.’

And I am as lost in admiration for Lord Sacks as many of his other Christian admirers. He broadcasts frequently, and there are many pieces I could offer you from You Tube. Perhaps this one?

1 comment on this post:

Angela Field said...

Brilliant!! Tyvm!!

16 April 2014 07:18

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