He Leadeth Me: An Extraordinary Testament of Faith by Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. & Daniel L. Flaherty, S.J.

(New York: Image / Penguin, 1973), 208

In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me.

And the greatest grace God can give such a man is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers—and then sustain him with his grace so he may endure to the end and be saved.


  • "Men died in those camps, especially those who gave up hope." (12)
  • "God had stripped away from me many of the external consolations, physical and religious, that men rely on and had left me with a core of seemingly simple truths to guide me." (13)

Chapter 1: Albertyn

  • "Why has God allowed this evil to happen?" (19)
  • "It is the status quo that we rely on, that carries us from day to day, and somehow we begin to lose sight of the fact that under all these things and behind all these things, it is God who supports and sustains us." (21)
  • "He must allow our whole world to be turned upside down in order to remind us it is not our permanent abode or final destiny." (22)

Chapter 2: The Decision to Enter Russia

Chapter 3: Russia

Chapter 4: Arrest and Imprisonment

  • "God expects each man to accept, as from his hands, the daily situations he sends him and to act as he would have him act and gives him the grace to act." (48)

Chapter 5: Lubianka

  • "I spent five years in Lubianka, most of it alone in such silence." (53)
  • "The human mind is restless...you either learn to control and channel it or you can go mad." (55)
  • Daily Routine of Spiritual Disciplines in prison: 5:30 wake, say the The Morning Offering, hour of meditation, 7:30 breakfast, say Mass by heart (!), The Angelus three times per day, Examination of conscience at noon and before bed, three rosaries in Polish, Latin, and Russian in the afternoon as a substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours and prepare his meditation for the next morning (56-57)
  • "I learned soon enough that Prayer does not take away podily pain or mental anguish. Nevertheless, it does provide a certain moral strength to bear the burden patiently. Certainly, it was prayer that helped me through every crisis...'Thy will be done.' That was the key." (58)
  • Truly, the Lord's Prayer is the beginning and end of all prayers, the key to every other form of Prayer. (59)
  • "Posture, like verbal formulas, is not essential to Prayer. Perseverance is...Lubianka was a school of prayer for me." (62)

Chapter 6: The Interrogations

Chapter 7: Four Years of Purgatory

  • "God's will was not hidden somewhere 'out there' in the situations in which I found myself; the situations themselves were his will for me." (81)
  • "For my part, I was brought to make this perfect acto fo faith, this act of complete self-abandonment to his will, of total trust in his love and concern fo rme and his desire to sustain and protect me, by the expterience of a complete despair of my own powers and abilities that had preceded it. I knew I could no longer trust myself, and it seemed only sensible then to trust totally in God." (82, cf. 2020-12-23-Abandonment to Divine Providence)
  • "The future, hidden as it was, was hidden in his will and therefore acceptable to me no matter what it might bring." (83)

Chapter 8: In Transit

  • "For the first time I palpably experienced the power of evil and how completely it could overshadow the power of good...they scorned every value I esteemed but were men too" (88-91)

Chapter 9: The Body

  • "It was under the daily regimen of work to exhaustion in the camps, under the constant torture of hunger and cold, through hurt and pain, distress and disease, weariness beyond comprehension and endurance beyond belief, that I came truly to understand and appreciate the catechism truth that man is a creature composed of body and soul." (97)
  • "What came to me in the prison camps was a tremendous respect and love for the poor old body." (98)
  • "What we tend to forget is the very folksy truth that God by his Incarnation took on a human body...that God, too, knows exactly how it feels to be cold, or tired, or hungry, or sore with pain, because he, too, has had a body." (100)

Chapter 10: Work

  • "Work of itself is not a curse but a sharing in God's own work of creation, a redemptive and redeeming act, noble of itself and worth of the best in man." (107)

Chapter 11: The Priesthood

  • "His task, therefore, was to do what was asked of him each day as perfectly as he could and leave the rest to God." (118)

Chapter 12: The Apostolate

  • "I had continuously to learn to accept God's will—not as I wished it to be, not as it might have been, but as it actually was at the moment." (124)

Chapter 13: The Meaning of the Mass (★)

  • Fasting: "If we waited until we could go off into a quiet corner of the barracks during the evening, it meant that we must fast all day and still do a full day's work with the lumber gangs." (130)
  • "I could not help thinking how the forests sometimes resembled a cathedral—the tall rows of towering trees arching over us, the hushed silence, the natural beauty around us." (130)
  • "So I never let a day pass without saying Mass; it was my primary concern each new day. I would go to any length, suffer any inconvenience, run any risk to make the bread of life available to these men." (133)

Chapter 14: Retreats

  • "To survive this situation, a man needed more than food or even intellectual sustenance; he needed spiritual strength." (140)
  • "The kingdom of God had to be worked out on earth, for that was the meaning of the Incarnation." (144-145)
  • "Each day, every day of our lives, God presents to us the people and opportunities upon which he expects us to act." (145)
  • Say The Morning Offering each day to dedicate to God all the prayer, works, and sufferings of each day in conformity to his will, as a means of winning grace for others especially your family and friends (148)

Chapter 15: The Fear of Death

Chapter 16: Freedom

  • "The body can be confined, but nothing can destroy the deepest freedom in man, the freedom of the soul, and the freedom of mind and will." (162)
  • "No man's freedom is absolute. Ultimately, the only absolute freedom we have resides in a man's Free Will. And that freedom was given us by our Creator, essentially, so that we might freely choose to love and serve him...Fullest freedom comes when we follow to the least detail the will of another...True freedom meant nothing else than letting God operate within my soul without interference." (164-165)

Chapter 17: The Kingdom of God

  • "God's grace demands the total transformation of man, for man belongs to God. Only in faith, only by a change of heart, can a man enter the kingdom of God." (175)
  • "There has been no other way for the spreading of the kingdom than by the acts and the lives of individual Christians striving each day to fulfill the will of God." (177)

Chapter 18: Humility

  • "Humility is nothing more or less than knowing our place before God." (180-181)

Chapter 19: Faith (★)

  • "We do not merit faith—God gave it to us as a free gift—but it is ours to preserve or lose." (190)
  • Prayer preserves our faith, especially The Morning Offering
  • "We must have faith before we can love, or we will surely end up loving the wrong thing—loving ourselves more than God, or loving creatures for themselves." (192)
  • "Only by a lively faith can a man learn to live in peace among the tensions of this world." (193)

Chapter 20: Humanity

  • Marxism: man and the material world is all there is (199)
  • Answering Atheism with reality (202+)

Source: Jordan


New Words

Created: 2021-12-08
Updated: 2024-03-22-Fri