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Gritty Surrender

4 Poems That Changed My Life - fourth installment

I first watched the 1952 movie, The Miracle of the Lady of Fatima, years after its release. Although not Catholic, my little third grade self resonated with the experiences of the children portrayed in the movie. The religious imagination of my childhood bent toward the romantic, finding only beauty and adventure in the story of devoting the whole of a life to Jesus. Decade after decade, I sought within myself a dedication so pure, a love so strong, a courage so predictable to govern my life in a way that I might remain ever faithful to Jesus.

It would have been easy for me to pray this poem while I stilled believed I somehow could muster the power to offer myself in total to God for God’s bidding.

But this poem/prayer came to me during a time when my teenage children wandered in a wilderness of adolescence that threatened severe harm and I was helpless to rescue them from that path.

The pain tore away my addiction to the romantic and I sought help from my first spiritual director, Helen Cepero. She led me to the Suscipe, Latin for receive. The words anchored me as waves of fear and anxiety curled their fingers tight around my mothering heart.

By God’s grace, when the circumstances of that time overwhelmed me, this six line poem pressed my believes about what I knew about God into what I experienced of God.

Ignatius Loyola


Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding,

and my entire will, all that I have

and possess. Thou hast given all to me.

To Thee, O lord, I return it.

All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.

Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

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