Ave Maria Meditations
In February 1943 Franz was called up again for military service. He presented himself at the induction centre on 1 March 1943 and announced his refusal to fight, offering to carry out non-violent services: this was denied him.
He was held in custody at Linz in March and April, transferred to Berlin-Tegel in May and subject to trial on 6 July 1943 when he was condemned to death for sedition. The prison chaplain was struck by the man’s tranquil character. On being offered the New Testament, he replied: “I am completely bound in inner union with the Lord, and any reading would only interrupt my communication with my God”.
On 9 August, before being executed, Franz wrote: “If I must write… with my hands in chains, I find that much better than if my will were in chains. Neither prison nor chains nor sentence of death can rob a man of the Faith and his free will. God gives so much strength that it is possible to bear any suffering…. People worry about the obligations of conscience as they concern my wife and children.
But I cannot believe that, just because one has a wife and children, a man is free to offend God”.
Franz Jägerstätter, who would not bow his head to Hitler, bowed his head to God, and the guillotine took care of the rest. He was obviously called up to serve a higher order.
The rest of this short biography can be found at the Vatican website at www.vatican.va