Sunday, June 14, 2015

Providence's Gift

Into Your Hands, Father
Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us
Wilfrid Stinissen, 
Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2011

As luck would have it, as I was preparing to start my retreat last week, the card operated lock on the door of my room decided to lock me out after having worked nicely a couple of times. As I was waiting for Nathan to come to my rescue, I had a chance encounter with a great lady who is spiritual directress to people all over the world. She knows me from over the years and was eager to receive prayer intentions from me to pass on to her directees and to take to heart herself. In that context we spoke about the crisis in Ukraine and my own frustration over the lack of solidarity around the world for those dear people. At some point in the brief conversation, she made me a gift of this little book, which I took as a prompting of Divine Providence to sit down and read straight through. Its 103 pages formed a little prelude to my annual retreat.

The book only has three chapters: 1. Accepting God's Will; 2. Obeying God's Will: 3. Being God's Instrument. My favorite part was the Foreword, where Stinissen points out that different from the great masters, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, who focused on the path of prayer to come to God, St. Therese of Lisieux accented surrender, abandonment to God's Will.There is something very fresh and easy about Father's book and I wish to recommend it to those who feel stymied by the great tradition. He may unlock some doors or untie some knots for you.

One of my heroes in my line of work was Pacelli's successor in Berlin, the Nuncio Orsenigo. Nobody was ever happy with him and his work in Nazi Germany; eventually under bombardment during WWII he had to evacuate the Nunciature from the city and then flee again before the advancing Red Army. He eventually settled in Bavaria and there he died without ever returning home to Italy. 

Pope Pius XI sent Orsenigo, a man he knew from the great library in Milan, to Germany to replace the man he called to be his Secretary of State. He must have been confident that Orsenigo was the right man for the job, impossible as it was. I am hoping on Judgment Day to have light cast on these situations which this world saw differently. I am confident in God's Love for us and hope to be an effective instrument for Him in the world, by His own measurement and will.

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