Monday, February 12, 2018

He Leadeth Me quotes

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I had heard about the book He Leadeth Me by Walter Ciszek online, mainly from Jennifer Fulwiler. So I was excited when my online book club decided to read it. It is definitely a five-star book and one of those that you can't stop thinking about in between when you read it and can't wait to pick it up again. I read it immediately post-partum, and it was perfect, to make a little more sense of the (little) suffering I was in. It is one of those books I want to buy for everyone and wish everyone would read. Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

"For every man's life contains its share of suffering; each of us is occasionally driven almost to despair, to ask why God allows evil and suffering to oertake him or those he loves." (prologue)

"He had stripped away from me many of the external consolations, physical and religious, thatmen rely on and had left me with a core of seemingly simple truths to guide me." (prologue)

"Yet, from our vantage point in history, we know it was really quite the opposite. Israel's troubles were in truth a manifestation of Yahweh's special providence, his special love for his chosen people. Like a fond and loving father, he was trying to wean them away from trust in kings or princes or in armies or the powers of this world. He was trying to teach them, again and again, that their faith must only be in him alone. " (chapter 1)

"The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. The trick is to learn to see that - not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God's grace, but every day." (chap 3)

"A concern for sheer survival reduced prisoners under these conditions to a state of docility and servility that was truly inhuman." (chap 4)

"Solitary confinement, in short, must be very much like what some theologians paint as the principal torment of hell: the soul at last recognizing its mistakes for what they were and condemned forever to the loss of heaven, constantly tormenting itself with reproaches and tearing itself apart because it still sees and understands and want the things it has lost forever, but knows it is condemened to lose forever becasue of its own choices, its own failings, its own mistakes." (chap 5)

"And I learned soon enough that prayer does not take away bodily pain or mental anguish. Nevertheless, it does provide a certain moral strength to bear the burden patiently. Certainly, it was prayer that helped me through every crisis." (chap 5)

"I had not really left myself open to the Spirit. I had, in fact, long ago decided what I expected to hear from the Spirit, and when I did not hear precisely that, I had felt betrayed." (chap 6)

"I find it perfectly understandable that Peter, in his letters to the early churches, should have reminded his Christians to work out their salvation in fear and trembling. For just as surely as man begins to trust in his own abilties, so surely has he taken the first step on the road to ultimate failure. And the greatest grace God can give such a man is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers - and then sustain him with his grace so he may endure to the end and be saved." (chap 6)

"I was curious beyond belief, almost addicted to stories of every sort, even rumors. The habit of recollection I had been able to develop while in solitary confinement broke down under this bombardment. I was continuously distracted, even when I tried to pray." (chap 8)

"I didn't build a new city in Siberia because Joseph Stalin or Nikita Khrushchev wantedit, but because God wanted it. The labor I did was not a punishment, but a way of working out my salvation in fear and trembling. Work was not a curse, even the brutish grunt work I was doing, but a way to God - and perhaps even a way to help others to God. I could not, therefore, look upon this work as degrading; it was enobling, for it came to me from the hand of God himself. It was his will for me." (chap 10)

"There is a tremendous truth contained in the realization that when God became man, he became a workingman." (chap 10)

"None of this came easily, for I was not a disembodied spirit. Hunger could distract me, the interrogators could confuse me, a body aching in every joint and worn down by a long arctic day of grueling work could leave me totally exhausted and very much discouraged. It is much easier to see the redemptive role of pain and suffering in God's plan if you are not actually undergoing pain and suffering. It was only by struggling with such feelings, however, that growth occurred." (chap 12)

"Every moment of every man's life is precious in God's sight, and none must be wasted through doubt and discouragement. The work of the kingdom, the work of laboring and suffering with Christ, is no more spectacular for the most part than the routine of daily living." (chap 14)

"The body can be confined, but nothing can destroy the deepest freedom in man, the freedom of the soul, and the freedom of mind and will. These are the highest and noblest faculties in man, they are what make him the sort of man he is, and they cannot be constrained. Even in prison, a man can choose to do good or evil, to fight for survival or to despair, to serve God and others or to turn inward and selfish." (chap 16)

"It dawned on me at such times how futile were the attempts of man or of government to destroy the kingdom of God. you can close churches, you can imprison priests and ministers, you can even set men and churches to fighting among themselves, but you cannot uproot thereby the good seed existing among the tares and cockle, that good seed that is the kingdom of God." (chap 17)

"Yet my greatest consolation was the evident faith of the courageous Christians I served, a living witness in this desolate land to the power of God's grace and the existence of his kingdom. Their faith, their courage, inspired me daily to offer up all my actions and works and sufferings of each day to the work of spreading the kingdom of God upon earth. What was I, in comparison the the millions of atheists in the Soviet Union? What was I, in comparison to the might and power of the Soviet government? What were any of us, really in the face of the system around us, with all its organs of propaganda and powers of persecution? Yet, in God's providence, here we were. This was the place he had chosen for us, the situation and circumstances in chich he had placed us." (chap 17)

"To increase our love, to love properly, we must strive to increase our faith, and we do this by means of prayer and the sacraments." (chap 19)

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