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A prayer to accept sadness, written by a priest who survived a Soviet prison camp


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Sarah Robsdottir - published on 02/14/21

Spirit of Christ, help me to enter into a deeper union with you. Lead me away from dwelling on the hurt I feel ...

I first learned of Father Walter Ciszek’s Prayer of Surrender (I use it as a prayer to accept sadness) and his life in a Soviet prison camp when I was struggling with severe morning sickness during one of my pregnancies. I had picked up a copy of his testimony He Leadeth Me, and turned a corner in my journey both spiritually and physically. I went from striving to change my situation to accepting it (by God’s grace). And even though I never found that perfect remedy to stave off morning sickness, by making peace with it — I ended up feeling a whole lot better.

Lately, I have been reflecting on how badly I need to revisit He Leadeth Me when I came across Ciszek’s Prayer of Surrender. Saying the prayer has meant a lot to me over the past couple of days, as I’ve been feeling especially sad about the pandemic. When you consider the circumstances in which Ciszek wrote the prayer — unfairly imprisoned, starved, even tortured — the words become that much more powerful.

The Prayer of Surrender by Father Walter Ciszek, SJ

Lord, Jesus Christ, I ask the grace to accept the sadness in my heart, as your will for me, in this moment. I offer it up, in union with your sufferings, for those who are in deepest need of your redeeming grace. I surrender myself to your Father’s will and I ask you to help me to move on to the next task that you have set for me. Spirit of Christ, help me to enter into a deeper union with you. Lead me away from dwelling on the hurt I feel: to thoughts of charity for those who need my love, to thoughts of compassion for those who need my care, and to thoughts of giving to those who need my help. As I give myself to you, help me to provide for the salvation of those who come to me in need. May I find my healing in this giving. May I always accept God’s will. May I find my true self by living for others in a spirit of sacrifice and suffering. May I die more fully to myself, and live more fully in you. As I seek to surrender to the Father’s will, may I come to trust that he will do everything for me.

Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ., was an American Jesuit missionary priest to Communist Russia in the mid-20th century. In 1941, he was falsely found guilty of being a German spy and was placed in a prison camp for roughly 20 years. Eventually, Ciszek returned home after a trade had been agreed upon between the USA and USSR; he was exchanged for a Soviet spy that had been caught in America. In recent years, a prayer league has been founded to promote Ciszek’s cause of canonization.

Father Walter Ciszek, pray for us!


Read more:
This advice from a priest who spent years in isolation can make your quarantine more bearable

Prayers for a Particular Need
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