Nikolaus Gross

Nikolaus Gross worked as coal miner in Germany before becoming editor of the union newspaper.  Married with seven children, he actively resisted the Nazi movement, which led to the paper's suppression.

Gross was imprisoned in August 1944 and hanged on January 23, 1945.  It was reported about the execution: "Gross bowed his head silently during the blessing. His face already seemed illuminated by the glory into which he was getting ready to enter."  Nikolaus Gross was beatified in 2001.

Gross wrote the following, which is an appropriate reflection on Palm Sunday, praying not just about Christ's suffering, but our own suffering we endure.

Sometimes, my heart becomes heavy and the task appears insoluble if I measure my own human imperfection and inadequacy against the greatness of the obligation and the weight of the responsibility. If a generation must pay the highest price, death, for its short life, we look for the answer in ourselves in vain. We find it only in Him in whose hand we are safe in life and in death. We never know what problems are waiting to test the power and strength of our souls.... Man's ways lie in obscurity. But even darkness is not without light. Hope and faith, which always hasten ahead of us, already have a presentiment of the breaking of a new dawn. If we know that the best thing in us, the soul, is immortal, then we also know that we shall meet each other again.

I think about my own grandfather, Nick Wallace, who was also a union man in a mill town who became a newspaper editor.  He certainly bore heavy burdens throughout his life, and he did not flinch from his responsibilities.  I am the beneficiary of his labors and I hope I will meet him again in the afterlife.  Your sufferings now will bear fruit unto eternity.

 

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