Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Review: He Leadeth Me

About the Book:
Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a "Vatican spy," Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God's will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer--a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw admidst the "arrogance of evil" that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God--even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, "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?"

My Comments:
This book is more of a spiritual journal, written after-the-fact, than an autobiography.  While Fr. Ciszek includes some details of his daily life as a prisoner of the Soviets, he mostly writes about his spiritual life during that time.  He talks about learning to depend on God and God alone, about his love for the Eucharist, about serving the other prisoners by administering the sacraments and counselling them.  

While at times the book seemed repetitive, it was an easy read, though one that had a lot of food for thought if you want to use it as spiritual reading.  Today in the US it is so easy to take the freedom to practice our faith for granted; Fr. Ciszek tells his story and the story of people for whom practicing the faith could and often did lead to hardship.

I'd like to thank the Blogging for Books program for providing a complimentary review copy.  Grade:  B+.

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