Prayer: In The Hands of God

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More than ever I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference;
the initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
to know and feel myself
so totally in God’s hands.

— Pedro Arrupe, SJ*

Fr. Pedro Arrupe wrote this prayer after he suffered a debilitating stroke. Knowing that bit of context gives me an interpretation of this prayer that I didn’t initially see. It gives the prayer a weight and truth that deeply resonates with me.

As I get older, I have to acknowledge my own declining body. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had to cope with any severe health issues yet, but the constant, slow erosion of my capabilities is undeniable. And I know that I have only minimal control over this.

This prayer gives me an alternate perspective on these losses. I see that it’s not going to be my initiative that brings me closer to God. As the aging process strips away so much of what I took for granted, I see it never was about my efforts. God has been there all along, waiting for me to get out of my own way and accept what has been already given.

The undeserved and unearned grace of God’s love has always been offered. To all of us. There’s nothing we could ever do to earn it or justify it. And maybe we need to have our illusion of control stripped away to see this truth.

*Pedro Arrupe, S.J (1907-1991) was elected as the Superior General of the Jesuits in 1965 and served in that role until 1983. One of his legacies was a more profound commitment to social justice for the Jesuits. This included the establishment of the Jesuit Refugee Service (which is currently very involved with helping refugees in Ukraine).


  1. Thanks for the prayer and all your Friday prayers!

    I think God blesses us with insight into some things and keeps us blissfully unaware of others. Not understanding aging until, well, you’re aged, is one such blessing IMHO.

    I thank Him for not abandoning me even as I stubbornly believed I could chart my own future. I thank him for the gift of faith, especially in this last part of my life. I can see how these years could easily create anger, resentment, and depression if I believed there is nothing after earthly life. I never understood a “happy death” but I now I yearn for drawing so close to God that mine – whenever it comes – is exactly that.

    What wonderful bits for reflection today – one of the most solemn but expectant days in the Christian calendar.


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