Fr. Walter Ciszek

I can't remember if I wrote about Fr. Walter Ciszek during the summer. He was an American priest who ended up spending many years in the labor camps of Russia. The two most popular books about him are, With God in Russia and the more personal spiritual side of his time in the labor camps, He leadeth Me.

I read He Leadeth Me over the summer while I was spending time preparing for my Perpetual Vows. I like to read, I read a lot of different things but that was one of the best books I have ever read. Fabulous. Fr. Ciszek talks about the different trials he endured, how he made sense of them and what God was teaching him though it all.

I was really struck by one thing that Fr. Ciszek mentioned. So often we think that to reach people and evangelize, we have have to have a certain program, certain knowledge, say the right things, etc. And while that may be partially true, Fr. Ciszek said that the best way to help people in the world today is to become a saint yourself.

Well said. I agree. It would be much easier to say that we aren't effective because we don't have such-and-such of an educational degree. But that really misses the point. God places so many people in our lives everyday. He is always working. So perhaps I should ask myself, "Am I being faithful to the call of holiness?"

Mother Teresa was quoted as saying, "We are not called to be successful but faithful."
The book that recently came out about her called, Come be my light
is another fabulous witness of personal sanctity benefiting mankind at large.

So, help the world, become a saint!


Anonymous said…
I couldn't agree with your more about Fr. Ciszek's (pronounced "Chiss' ek") writings. I read With God in Russia first and was dissatisfied because I wanted to know what was going on in his interior life during the incredible hardships he describes. He Leadeth Me was very satisfying to read because of that. He wrote it some years after he wrote the first book, and it was obvious that he wrote it after deep reflection. It is a profound book, but it is a very practical book for everybody's everyday spiritual life. I particularly like what he had to say about work:

When God became man he became a working man. His public life was the work of three short years, but for three-quarters of his life, he was a village carpenter doing the rough work of a hill country craftsman. He did the work all of us have to do in our lifetimes; there was undoubtedly much that was routine about it, much that was boring. He showed us it is not beneath our dignity because it isn’t beneath God’s dignity – the simple repetitious work of the wage earner are noble and redemptive works worthy of God himself. He doesn’t ask us to do anything more tedious, more tiring, more routine, more unspectacular than He Himself has done. Work, all work, any work has a value in itself insofar as it partakes of God’s redemptive acts. Accept the situations of each day as from the hand of God, and labor so that you might offer them back to Him somehow improved by your efforts, and also for the salvation of others and as a reparation for your own past failings and those of others.
Adoro te Devote said…
I LOVE Fr. Ciszek, and let me tell you....he has interceeded in my life in some big ways. I read both of those books, my friend is currently reading "He Leadeth Me", and told me today she's loving it as well.

That particular book helped me to get through some really horrible times in my job (previous to the one I have now), and while I know he quite literally assisted in me in some of my tasks, I also believe he was instrumental in getting me out of that place.

So...he is going to be the Patron Saint of Claims Adjusters and Investigators, and of people stuck in very bad employment situations. Seriously.

I also know of a few prisoners who converted after reading, every day, his "Prayer of Surrender".

If you don't have that prayer, let me know and I'll post it for you.

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