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‘Fr Walter Ciszek (1904-1984) was a Polish-American Jesuit priest who was captured by the Soviets while on mission in Russia and imprisoned for many years in the Siberian gulags. Despite the freezing cold, hard labour, deprivation and suffering, he survived and was eventually released. Afterwards he wrote his biography in which he described his struggle to trust in God as he was pushed to the limit of survival. In this autobiography called ‘He Leadeth Me’, Fr Walter said: ‘The greatest grace God can give someone 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’. Here is an example of precisely the same experience as St Paul in today’s second reading at Mass where he shares: ‘There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength’. All of us are pushed to our limits at times. But these are the moments that God sends us that invite us to ask for the strength to endure.

Fr Billy Swan


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