Rev. Walter Joseph Ciszek, S.J. (November 4, 1904 – December 8, 1984) was a Polish-American Jesuit priest 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, plus five preceding them in Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison. He was released and returned to the United States in 1963, after which he wrote two books, including the memoir With God in Russia, and served as a spiritual director.
"For each of us, salvation means no more and no less than taking up daily the same cross of Christ, accepting each day what it brings as the will of God, offering back to God each morning all the joys, works, and sufferings of that day. But those are abstract words. What it means, in practice, is spelled out as always by the poor old body. It means getting up each morning and going to bed exhausted . It means the routine, not the spectacular. It can mean drudgery, pain, putting aside pleasures, happiness, or the love the human heart craves until another time, so that what is necessary at the moment can be done. It means working for others, touching the lives of others, through the medium of the body.
|Fr. Walter Ciszek - Seminary 1930s|
How many times, tired and worn out and near collapse from the slave labor conditions of the camps, did I think I could not ask another step of the body, did I think in pain and irony of those words “The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak”? Truly, man is a creature composed of body and soul, and we work out our salvation in this vale of tears through the medium of the flesh. It is the first gift God and our parents fashion for us; it sustains and supports us through a long life and makes possible both joys and sorrows; and when at last we are parted from it in death, it surely deserves whatever rest it can get before it rises to be glorified at the last judgment." (Ciszek Sj, Walter J. (2012-10-17). He Leadeth Me (p. 96). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)
About Father Ciszek (website)
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