In the book I mention how my wife and I (often along with daughter Julie too) pray the Father Dolindo “Surrender Prayer” regularly. This prayer is known and loved by Catholics the world over for its simplicity and power! It’s a nine-day novena which means that we pray a different “verse” for nine days while the “chorus” is the same every day. Here is a beautiful musical version of the nine days of this prayer: https://www.stthomasaquinassociety.org/devotions-and-prayers/153-surrender-novena-of-father-dolindo-ruotolo.
The verses each focus on real life situations where we humans have a choice to either trust God and surrender to Him, or not; a marvelous companion to The Merton Prayer. The surrender called for in this prayer is always couched in the promise that God will take care of whatever our perplexities or confusions or fears might happen to be then raging or whispering in our lives. Each verse in essence has God saying, “give it to me in real surrender and I will take care of it.” Following the verse we repeat this phrase ten times: “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you; take care of everything!”
I am ordinarily not a fan of repeating phrases in my conversations with God, having been raised a Protestant and today only half-way across the Tiber according to some of my Roman Catholic friends. I hear the strong admonition of Jesus against mindlessly babbling words in our prayers over and over. Immediately preceding Jesus’ teaching us how to pray with the Our Father he says this: “When you pray don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” [Matthew 6:7]
So how, you may ask, is this ten-times-repeated-chorus not “babbling on and on”? It could well be. But to me it is not. This is one context where my mind does not wander aimlessly while repeating the chorus. God will “take care of everything” if only I can offer pure and undiluted “surrender” to Him. Like The Merton Prayer, however, these words are not a magical incantation which brings God onto the scene to do what we deem best. Not at all. Not even close. In this kind of true surrender, the result will always be what God deems best!
Day One has this: sometimes we act like little children who tell our mothers how best to parent us! Day Three has this: sometimes we act like patients who tell our doctors what to do and how to heal us! Once these words are in my brain the repetition of the “surrender” chorus always brings me a huge sense of calm and confidence that, indeed, God’s plan for this situation I am facing may or may not be the same as my plan. But getting “take care of everything” into my soul and my brain and my gut always reloads my confidence and faith that God loves me and will lead me on the right path, even though as Merton prayed, “I may know nothing about it.”
So now I get to my favorite verse of the “Surrender Prayer,” which occurs on Day Two. God is speaking to me: “Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of your soul and put yourself in My care.” The first time I encountered this phrase I was aghast with curious amazement. I wondered how does one go about “placidly closing the eyes of one’s soul”? And why would one want to close the eyes of one’s soul? In chewing on this little phrase, I have come to love it, again for the simultaneous simplicity and depth. My “soul” is my inner essence, the core of my very being, the load-star of my existence. My soul functions like a sentry guarding the city while standing alert on the city’s walls constantly scanning the horizon for enemy approaches.
So what good is a sentry whose eyes are closed? Can there be a more powerful metaphor for true and total surrender? For a “closed-eyed sentry” to be a successful guardian of the city s/he must have a higher power handling the watch-tower duties for him/her! But wait, there’s more! I am asked to “placidly” close the eyes of my soul, and that word always and only means that this act of surrender is done “peacefully” which can only happen when I recall how God has in the past “taken care of everything.” This is the kind of surrender we are called to have, and once I have closed down my own navigation machine it is such a joy to sit back and watch how God will indeed take care of everything.
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2 thoughts on “Take Care of Everything”
This is very good. I wanted to leave a comment but can’t remember my WordPress password at this moment.
God bless you,
This is a great compliment to The Merton Prayer. I will endeavor to do the Noveno. The link to the musical version is very helpful.
I was wondering, am I being called to leave my apartment or car unlocked?