Way Too Manly (Father Walter Ciszek)

Sorry, ladies.  This is the second blog in a row that reeks of manliness.  But I should correct myself as there are PLENTY of very strong women out there who are much strong than a lot of men (our Blessed Mother Mary for one).  Side note: I believe I’ve read that as women age, their testosterone levels increases.  And for men, their testosterone levels decrease as they age.  Feel free to debate in the comment section.  Ha!

So speaking of strong, the man I’d like to introduce today if you’re not already familiar with him is Father Walter Ciszek.  He was a prisoner (as a priest) in Russia for 23 years and he lived to write about it!  Ignatius Press has 2 books by him.  (being conscious of the book publisher is one of my many ways of keeping on the straight and narrow in feeding my mind).  These 2 books are: He Leadeth Me and With God in Russia. 

As you start reading about him, you’ll quickly find out that he was a Jesuit priest.  Now, I’m very familiar that the Jesuits tend to have a bad reputation among conservative circles, but please read on as Fr. Ciszek is an exception!  Speaking of which, some well known (in my small world) canonized saints from the Jesuit order are:
St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder so duh!)
St. Francis Xavier
St. Edmund Campion
St. Robert Bellarmine

There are many more Jesuit saints, but again, these are some of the more well known saints from that order.  Anyways, back to Walter Ciszek.  Just how manly was he???  I’ll let you be the judge after reading the following quote (during his time in the seminary, and before his time in Russia) from his book, With God in Russia:

“And I had to be tough. I’d get up at four-thirty in the morning to run five miles around the lake on the seminary grounds, or go swimming in November when the lake was little better than frozen. I still couldn’t stand to think that anyone could do something I couldn’t do, so one year during Lent I ate nothing but bread and water for the forty days –another year I ate no meat at all for the whole year –just to see if I could do it. “

Fast forward after his priestly ordination.  He volunteers to do ministry in Russia.  He gets imprisoned.  Everyday, he is forced to shovel coals for…let’s just say it’s more hours than the 9-5 worker.  And he is fed only bread (OUCH, my heart cries as that’s a carbohydrate, and I NEED my proteins and fats.  (ok, not “need”, but technically “really REALLY want”…only thing we REALLY need is God.  And oxygen and water to physically live.)  So keeping in mind that output of calories and intake of calories (and quality of calories…gotta have ourselves the Brotein shakes!), and that adds to how awesome Fr. Ciszek is as he talks about each day as a GIFT.  WHAAAT?? #amazing #micDrop

I end today’s blog with the second and final quote from him.  This time from his other book, He Leadeth Me (gotta love that old school title):

“For 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?  If God is for us, who can stand against us?  Nothing, not even death, can separate us from God.  Nothing can touch us that does not come from His hand, nothing can trouble us because all things come from His hand.  Is this too simple, or are we just afraid really to believe it, to accept it fully and in every detail of our lives, to yield ourselves up to it in total commitment?  This is the ultimate question of faith and each must answer it for himself in the quiet of his heart and the depth of his soul.  But to answer it in the affirmative is to know a peace, to discover a meaning to life, that surpasses all understanding.”

Prayer request to be as strong and as faith filled as Fr. Ciszek was.

God bless,
Mike Panlilio

2 thoughts on “Way Too Manly (Father Walter Ciszek)”

  1. Fr. Ciszak was a great and inspiring truth seeker and his books and style of writing make you want to read more. Both books should be given to young adults especially today, as they exemplify real courage and heroism. I still have these books and was motivated by your blog to revisit them. What Walter Ciszak did in both books was to reveal the inner struggles of every man or woman who seeks that which is universal and lasting, and who refuses to allow conscience to be vacated. We see Dr. Ciszak fighting against his own flaws and weaknesses as he strives after what is written on his heart under horrific circumstances. We realize that those who let themselves become self-indulgent and pampered, who bit by bit relinquish value after virtue, descend into a solitary darkness. Fr. Ciszak, even with his disciplined and educated background, drifted to the brink of such despair and may have been irretrievably lost had he not tapped into that mysterious power and grace that is the life of God. We all need to be reminded that alone we can do very little; with God every possibility is open to us.

    Liked by 1 person

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