Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.

ABANDONMENT

The great saints, single, married, lay and religious, show us how we are supposed to live.  Sometimes when I look closely at their lives I understand my own life a little more clearly.  I perceive in them a quality of living:  deep peace, tangible joy and consuming love; their lives reveal a freedom from the anxieties of life that haunt the rest of us.  Many of us have seen these same qualities in the very poor — those who have nothing to rely on except the love of God.  And so I wonder why I, who have so much, act like I have so little and those who have so little act like they have so much?
I want to live like they do.  Deep down I want to live like the saints; I want to walk in freedom like the generous poor who trust more in God than they trust in themselves or their possessions.  I want to give myself away, let go of everything, surrender and trust God completely.  Maybe you want the same thing?  So how do we do it?
What does it mean to live a surrendered life?  Charles de Foucauld wrote the Prayer of Abandonment.  It reads as follows:
Father, 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
into your hands, 
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
What does it mean to abandon oneself, to completely surrender? By definition “abandon” means to leave completely and finally; to forsake utterly; to desert.  In the spiritual life, it means to give up control of one’s life, to yield without restraint or moderation.  This is how Jesus lived in relationship to the Father — not my will but yours. (John 8:29)  The same is true for Mary — let it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1: 38)  And for the disciples who left their nets to become fishers of men. (Luke 5:10-11) And for countless others who have quit their lives to follow Jesus.
This kind of surrender does not happen in a vacuum.  People who have abandoned themselves in this way have experienced deeply the love of God.  The Father has granted to them, “according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith; and that [they], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [they] may be filled with the utter fullness of God.”  (Eph. 3:16-19)  And all of this is accomplished supernaturally because God is able to do so much more than we can ask or imagine. (Eph. 3:20)
People who have experienced the love of the Father in this way want more than anything to return love in the same way.  Because love is the only appropriate response to love.  And so, like de Foucauld, they offer themselves, with all the love of their hearts without reserve and with boundless confidence to the Father.  Those who abandon themselves in this way do so with confidence because they know that the Father orders everything for their good (2 Cor. 4:15), that every hair on their head is counted (Luke 12:7) and nothing, seemingly good or bad, happens in their lives without His knowledge and love (Rom. 8:28).
So that’s all fine and good, but what about me?  What about you?
How do we quit our lives of self reliance and surrender everything like we have always wanted to do?  We just do it — we decide to jump — we step out of the boat — we leap out of the plane — we put one foot in front of the other one and keep walking and we never look back.  We don’t need to make it more complicated than it is; we simply say yes to Jesus, and to what He places in front of us, and ask Him to give us all that we need along the way.

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Comments

  1. wow, thanks uncle mark, i actually wrote a melody to that prayer a long time ago!

  2. Hey Mark, welcome to the blogosphere! I just got started last month at http://www.widenyourtentpegs.blogspot.com

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