“Acceptable” Conditions

I have been reading an excellent book this Lent called He Leadth Me by Fr. Walter J. Cizek. It is the spiritual journey of a Jesuit priest who spent 23 years in Soviet prisons and work camps during (and after) World War II. Maybe I will share more about it in a later post, but I wanted to share this excerpt:

The tendency to set acceptable conditions upon God, to seek unconsciously to make his will coincide with our desires, is a very human trait. And the more important a situation is, the more totally we are committed to it, or the more completely our future depends on it, the easier it is to blind ourselves into thinking that what we want is surely what God must also want. We see but one solution only, and naturally we assume that God will help us reach it.

As I look back on Gianna’s birth almost a year ago, and especially as I think of how many little friends she had born around the same time, I can see how easy it was for us to fall into a false sense of security. She was going to be healthy, because I had the plan worked out as to how her long and happy life would glorify God. Things didn’t work out that way, needless to say. In some senses, things couldn’t have gone worse. And I wish I could say I’ve got it all figured out now with some months behind me, but I doubt it will be ‘figured out’ on this side of heaven.

It is good to be reading of Fr. Ciszek’s suffering. He was already a missionary priest, faithful and zealous, doing great penances for God. But it took years of solitary confinement, endless interrogations, and constant hunger for God to begin to purify his offerings and bring him to a real place of denying self and total trust in God. I am just at the part where he has come to that deep peace. He still has almost 20 years in prison camps to go, so we’ll see where we go from here! (I am still pretty far from total abandonment to God… so we’ll see what’s in store for me, too.)


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