Kresta in the Afternoon – September 25, 2017 – Hour 1

+  Kresta News Roundup

+  A "tough guy" priest - in the Gulag and beyond (2 segments)

  • Description: Fr. Walter Ciszek is known for his courage while imprisoned by the Soviet Union and we've talked before about how he "died three times." But there's much more to his story. His spiritual writings show him to be a saint of the ordinary life as well. John Dejak joins us with a look at his life and writings and the state of his cause for canonization.
  • Segment Guests:
    • John Dejak
      John DeJak is interim President of Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor. John DeJak holds multiple degrees including a J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law. He practiced law and served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and was the founding Headmaster of Chesterton Academy in Minneapolis, MN. He's the author of "With God in America: The Spiritual Legacy of an Unlikely Jesuit." Visit Ciszek.org.
  • + Articles Mentioned:

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    • He Leadeth Me: An Extraordinary Testament of Faith

      Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a "Vatican spy," Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God's will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer--a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the "arrogance of evil" that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experice, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit. He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God--even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, "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?" (learn more)

    • With God in Russia: The Inspiring Classic Account of a Catholic Priest’s Twenty-three Years in Soviet Prisons and Labor Camps

      Republished for a new century and featuring an afterword by Father James Martin, SJ, the classic memoir of an American-born Jesuit priest imprisoned for fifteen years in a Soviet gulag during the height of the Cold War—a poignant and spiritually uplifting story of extraordinary faith and fortitude as indelible as Unbroken. Foreword by Daniel L. Flaherty. While ministering in Eastern Europe during World War II, Polish-American priest Walter Ciszek, S.J., was arrested by the NKVD, the Russian secret police, shortly after the war ended. Accused of being an American spy and charged with "agitation with intent to subvert," he was held in Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka prison for five years. The Catholic priest was then sentenced without trial to ten more years of hard labor and transported to Siberia, where he would become a prisoner within the forced labor camp system made famous in Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize—winning book The Gulag Archipelago. In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own "resurrection"—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead. Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him. (learn more)

    • With God in America: The Spiritual Legacy of an Unlikely Jesuit

      In 1963, following twenty-three years of hard labor and abuse in Russian prison camps, Walter J. Ciszek, S.J., finally returned to America. Had he come back a bitter man, or a man of diminished faith, it would have been hard to fault him. But he didn’t. For the remainder of his years, until his death in 1984, Fr. Ciszek’s grace, faith, and wisdom touched—often in profound and lasting ways—everyone who came into contact with him. With God in America is a collection of previously unpublished writings on Ciszek’s post-imprisonment life and thoughts. The contents—which include articles he wrote, speeches he delivered at retreats, letters he sent to people he was counseling, and interviews with individuals who knew him personally—present a man unbroken by all that he had endured and eager to share God’s love with others. From Ciszek’s first days back home in the States to his final words before his death, With God in America demonstrates that saintliness isn’t primarily about acting heroically in dramatic or devastating circumstances, but about honoring the ordinary, everyday aspects of life as treasured gifts from God. (learn more)

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