Blog Post #14: Abandonment
Blog Post #14: Abandonment
God | Growth | Freedom | Abandonment | Fr. Walter Ciszek
Monday, October 7, 2019 by Carol Kurivial
It occurred to me this morning that we are 19+ years into the beginning of the third millennium. Truth is, we’re really just getting started on the third set of the next one thousand year time span. It also occurred to me that a good question to ponder is: What do I think God is hoping will evolve and come to the surface in the next thousand years? And, specifically, what kind of growth and renewal is He hoping that I, personally, will contribute to the world in whatever time I have left?
That’s kind of deep for a Monday morning, but somehow I’m pretty sure it was a result of my morning devotions, which were all about interior freedom and abandoning ourselves to Jesus.
I’ve always had an affinity for the word “abandonment.” It just resonates with me for some reason. I think I like the idea of taking all my angst, worries, responsibilities, obligations, thoughts, feelings, emotions…everything…and laying it at the feet of Jesus. Many theologians talk about abandonment and it always makes me feel better after reading and/or listening to their thoughts.
One of my very favorite “pieces” about abandonment comes from Fr. Walter Ciszek, a Polish-American Jesuit priest who was a prisoner in Russia between 1939 and 1963. Read his books He Leadeth Me or With God in Russia and prepare to grow.
But, specifically, He Leadeth Me talks about how religion can become self-centered and shares that this is, in part, why good people become ashamed when they see their own weaknesses…and disheartened when they fail to improve. He writes that it is because they have not yet learned “abandonment.” They have tried to do too much on their own.
No one says it better than Fr. Walter himself, so I’ll just do us all a favor and quote him: “Slowly, reluctantly, under the gentle proddings of grace, I faced the truth that was at the root of my problem and my shame. The answer was a single word: I. I was ashamed because I knew in my heart I had tried to do too much and I had failed. I felt guilty because I realized, finally, that I had asked for God’s help but had really believed in my own ability to avoid evil and to meet every challenge. I had spent much time in prayer over the years. I had come to appreciate and thank God for His Providence and care of me and of all men, but I never really abandoned myself to it…In short, I felt guilty and ashamed because, in the last analysis, I had relied almost completely on myself in this most critical test – and I had failed.”
I’ve never met this Fr. Walter, but I’ve read both of his books, and I can tell you that he has completely convinced me that abandonment is a good thing. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that if I accomplish nothing else in this third millennium, I pray that I will stop relying on myself so much (preferably, not at all), and get better at resting in His arms…in total and complete abandonment. I know that I can. I’m praying that I will.
And speaking of doing growth-ful things, Kristen and I would like to invite you to a home retreat on Wednesday, October 23 entitled Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Becoming Who God Created You to Be for Earth and Heaven. We’ll be offering the retreat both in the morning from 9:00 – noon and again in the evening from 7 – 9 in our home at 116 Brown Drive, Bryan, Ohio. To register, just go to our webpage at www.luminousministries.com and press the “Register” tab. If preferable, you can also sign up by calling us at 419.630.6410 (Carol) or 419.553.9207 (Kristen). This autumn season is a great time to grow in faith and abandonment!