One of the most important parts of our healing retreats is the small group time.…
“Suffering borne well will carry you closer to heaven than if you were the healthiest person in the world! Paradise is a mountain up which we climb better with a body broken and injured than with one healthy and whole,” proclaims St. Francis DeSales.
This little quote could seem disheartening, but to one who knows suffering and brokenness, and commends it to God with her feeble offering and weak surrender, it is a ray of hope. “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.” (Luke 5:27) I can take heart in my desperate need, in my crying out for help. I am in need of Jesus, and in my need, He promises to come to me, to rescue and deliver me. He promises to heal and to redeem me.
This word is used in 2 ways on our spiritual journey: to feel abandoned by God and to abandon all to God. At times we, with Jesus, feel abandoned by God. As Christ cried out from the Cross, “Father, Father, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22 and Gospels) Where are You in my boat? Don’t You see I’m perishing? The waves are rising so high, the storm is threatening, and You are sleeping! At times, God permits us to go through such trials in which we feel forsaken and forgotten by God, though He promises to never leave us. With bold daring and naked expression, we allow Jesus to live out His passion in us as we cry out our pain to the Lord, in all raw and real feeling. Where are You, God?! I need You! This crown of thorns that You ordain to share with me not only embraces my head but my heart too. Mercy, Lord God! And then Jesus breathes through us His act of full surrender, total abandonment to the Father: “Into Your hands, I commend my spirit. It is You who will redeem me, Lord.” (Psalm 31 and Gospels)
In our act of feeling utterly abandoned, we can abandon all to the One who upholds us with His right hand, who receives our each and every cry with a surge of compassion and power mighty to save, as He promises to raise us up with our Bloodied Savior into His glory and fullness of joy. “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Romans 6:8) We offer our every drop of blood, we surrender our every tear, we entrust our every groan and petition, hoping against hope in the One who hears our every plea and answers us on the day of distress.
PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Copyright 2020, Marian West Veilleux