30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 12: Honoring American Soldiers

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Viktor Frankl

Honorary Citizen of Austin, Texas

 

Lesson for the Day: Have an attitude of gratitude for American soldiers and the sacrifices they make to liberate oppressed peoples, even to the point of giving their lives for others.

“It really is not appropriate that you make me an honorary citizen. It would be more fitting if I make you an honorary logotherapist. Had not so many young soldiers from Texas, among them several from your city, risked and even sacrificed their lives, there would be no Frankl and no logotherapy today. You see, it was your Texas soldiers who liberated me and many others from the camp at .”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, Viktor Frankl Recollections: An Autobiography, trans. Joseph Fabry and Judith Fabry (New York, N.Y.: Plenum Press, 1997), p. 101.

30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 11: Sacrificial Love

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Viktor Frankl, M.D.

Lesson for the Day: A person ‘s life finds meaning in sacrificial love, that is, giving up something worthwhile for the sake of others.

“… [S]hortly before Pearl Harbor, I was asked to come to the American Consulate to pick up my visa. Then I hesitated. Should I leave my parents behind? I knew what their fate would be: deportation to a concentration camp. Should I say goodbye, and leave them to their fate? The visa applied to me alone.

“Undecided, I left home, took a walk, and had this thought: ‘Isn’t this the kind of situation that requires some hint from heaven?’ When I returned home, my eyes fell on a little piece of marble lying on the table.

“‘What’s this’ I asked my father.

“‘This? Oh, I picked it out of the rubble of the synagogue they have burned down. It has on it part of the Ten Commandments. I can even tell you from which commandment it comes. There is only one commandment that uses the letter that is chiseled here.’

“‘And that is…?’  I asked eagerly.

“Then father gave me this answer: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’

“Thus I stayed ‘upon the land’ with my parents, and let the visa lapse.”

Meaning of the Quote: Viktor Frankl decides to stay in Austria, entering the concentration camps with his family.

Source: Viktor E. Frankl,  Viktor Frankl Recollections: An Autobiography, trans. Joseph Fabry and Judith Fabry (New York, N.Y.: Plenum Press, 1997), pp. 82-83.

30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 5: The Ultimate Goal of Life

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Entrance to Auschwitz

Lesson for the Day: While suffering in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, Frankl made a profound discovery about the meaning of life and love.

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers.  The truth – that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire.  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.”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, 3rd ed. (New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1984), pp. 48-49. Italics are the publisher’s.