Doing God's Will


Choosing to do God's will and experiencing the spiritual freedom that followed was my greatest joy and the source of tremendous interior strength.

Servant of God,
Father Walter Ciszek, S.J.

For to know that he directed me in all my actions, that he sustained me with his grace, gave me a sense of peace and courage beyond description. Even in moments of human discouragement, the consciousness that I was fulfilling God's will in all that happened to me would serve to dispel all doubt and desolation. Whatever the trials of the moment, whatever the hardships or sufferings, more important than all these was the knowledge that they had been sent by God and served his divine providence. I could not always fathom the depths of his providence or pretend to understand his wisdom, but I was secure in the knowledge that by abandoning myself to his will I was doing as perfectly as I could his will for me.

Spiritual freedom of this sort, as I knew from bitter experience, is not something that can be attained overnight or ever possessed in its final form. Every new day, every new hour of every day, every new circumstance and situation, every new act is a new opportunity to exercise and grow in this freedom. What is required for growth is an attitude of acceptance and openness to the will of God, rather than some planned approach or calculated method.

Even ascetical practices such as penances, fasting, or mortifications can be hindrances rather than helps if they are self-imposed. Striving instead to eliminate all self-will, to accept God's will revealed in the circumstances of daily life, is the surest way to achieve growth in conformity to the will of God. It will provide more than enough virtue to be practiced, suffering to be sustained, pain to be borne; more importantly still, it will make us fit instruments to achieve his designs, not only for our own salvation but for others as well. The service of God must take preference over all else.




Father Walter Ciszek, S.J. "Doing God's Will." excerpt from He Leadeth Me (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1973).

Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Ignatius Press.


Father Walter Ciszek, S.J. was a Polish-American Jesuit priest known for his 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, including five in Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison. He was released and returned to the United States in 1963. Father Ciszek is the author of He Leadeth Me, and With God in Russia.

Since 1990, Ciszek has been under investigation by the Roman Catholic Church for possible beatification or canonization. His current title is a Servant of God.

Copyright © 1973 Ignatius Press

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