A Daily Lenten Devotion

Walter Joseph Ciszek was a Polish-American Jesuit priest of the Russian Greek Catholic Church who conducted clandestine missionary work in the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1963.

Fifteen of these years were spent in confinement and hard labor in the Gulag under Stalin’s regime. Plus, he spent time in Moscow‘s infamous Lubyanka prison in the five years preceding those.

In his memoirs, he writes of the horrific torture they all underwent. Yet, he gives us a beautiful view and perspective on salvation and the will of God, which ultimately is defined as Love.

“Across that threshold I had been afraid to cross, and things suddenly seemed very simple. There was but a single vision, God, who was all in all; but one will direct all things, God’s will.

I had only to see it, discern it in every circumstance in which I found myself, and let myself be ruled by it.

God is in all things, sustains all things, directs all things. To discern this in every situation and circumstance, to see God in all things, was to accept each circumstance and situation and let oneself be borne along in perfect confidence and trust.

Nothing could separate me from God because God was in all things.

No danger could threaten me, no fear could shake me, except the fear of losing sight of God.

The future, hidden as it was, was hidden in God’s will and therefore acceptable to me no matter what it might bring.

With all its failures, the past was not forgotten; it remained to remind me of the weakness of human nature and the folly of putting any faith in self.

But it no longer depressed me. I looked no longer to myself to guide me, relied on it no longer in any way, so it could not again fail me.

By renouncing, wholly and finally, all control of my life and future destiny, I was relieved as a consequence of all responsibility.

I was freed from anxiety and worry, from every tension, and could float serenely upon the tide of God’s sustaining providence in perfect peace of soul.”

To have perfect peace of soul amidst the most difficult of circumstances is the beauty of “being saved” or salvation; remember, it isn’t that we are rescued FROM something, but rather able to live through it. I love Ciszek’s words, “I had only to see it . . . to discern it.”

It is so easy sometimes to lose sight of God. If we pause, take a deep breath, and remember that whatever we are in, God is in the US, and we have all that we need to withstand it, regardless of the difficulty.

Perfect peace of soul. That is ours, the accepting, every day.