He Leadeth Me
I first heard of this book while listening to extra content for the Council of Man. I am pretty confident that it was during the fireside interview with Michael Miley, but with humility on loan from David Niles, I could easily be wrong. It seems to be no secret today that men are seeking challenges and this reader can attest that this story will dare you to be honest about your resolve and your ability to fully trust God. In addition, you will find yourself answering difficult questions about living your faith to the fullest in service to God.
Father Ciszek opens himself in a real and candid way as he unpacks his journey to, and imprisonment in Russia beginning during World War II. It is difficult to list all of the wisdom for spiritual growth covered in this story by Father Ciszek, but one main theme that prevails is divine providence. That is, how much do you trust and believe in the will of God?
It is difficult to finish this book and not reflect on your Catholic faith, as well as, your zeal for truly living your faith. If you were in a cold prison camp in Russia with very little daily food would you fast all day during hard labor so you could receive the Eucharist at a secret mass in the evening? If you were in communist Russia would you openly celebrate and organize mass despite the possibility of significant punishment? Would you stand in line for hours to attend Easter Vigil mass and then stay even longer afterward so you could receive the Eucharist because the crowd was too large to distribute communion to everybody during the mass? I know my answers to these questions are not where they should be and highlight my need for further spiritual growth.
There are a couple of statements in the epilogue that hit me directly and inspire me to change my daily perspective. To quote, “For it means that no moment can be wasted, no opportunity missed, since each has a purpose in man’s life, each has a purpose in God’s plan.” “For what can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
So how do I change when there are times that my trust in God is weak and my faith shaken? One answer for me is to remember the struggles, doubt, and despair that Father Ciszek experienced all while remaining faithful to God. As he states so beautifully and succinctly, “Man was created to praise, revere, and serve God in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next.” Thank you, Father Ciszek, for sharing your story and pray for us that we may follow God daily.
By: Kent Keithly
Husband and fortunate father