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"I am helpless"

"Let Them Be Helpless" by Mariana Tcherepanova-Smith
I was praying for Youngest Son today, asking his patron saints to pray for him as well, and saying to them, "I feel so helpless". I stopped and thought: "No. I AM helpless."

I am a card-carrying, pledge-swearing, grammar-correcting perfectionist. I am willing and able to tackle any and all problems, whether they concern me or not, because I KNOW I can take care of business. Get out of my way, watch my smoke, applaud my success.

Except...I am helpless.

I can't control stuff. I can't control my kids. I can support, cajole, discipline, advise. I can some degree. I can pray. I can tell, ask, model and listen. But I cannot control.

What a damn let-down for me. Because, I was sure, until just a few months ago when the ugliness of sin and evil in the world punched our family hard in the gut, that I could and would control.

I am helpless.

I have always thought this prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola was the scariest prayer in the universe, because it acknowledges what I crave most: control. And yet, I am willing to pray this prayer; I am helpless.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it
all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.


  1. Thanks for that. I have been a miserable failure as a father and grieve every day for the mistakes that I made. As a Catholic I know that I have been forgiven each time I leave the confessional but I have never yet found a way to forgive myself. I suspect that this prayer may help me at least find sone measure of peace.

  2. I hope you find some peace as well. We struggle together as the Church Militant...


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