What is the one piece of turf I must conquer for Jesus?

Daniel A. Lord, S.J.

It’s my own soul.

So says Father Daniel A. Lord, S.J. (1888-1955), in a passage I have been quoting to friends concerned about the upcoming presidential election and about the various cultural conflicts in which the Church is on one side and the world on the other.

The passage appears in “Thanksgiving on the Call of Christ,” one of the beautiful offerings in Father Lord’s Christ in Me (1952, Bruce Publishing, currently out of print), a collection of thanksgiving prayers to be prayed after receiving Holy Communion. After thanking God for the opportunity to save the world from evil, Father Lord writes:

Perhaps the thought of world conquest appalls and terrifies me, Lord Jesus. How can I, one small and unimportant individual, do anything significant to insure the happiness of the human race? Yet even as I ask, I know the answer; I hear your consistent reply: beyond all else you ask me for the conquest of my own heart and soul. The small world within me, that is my field of battle and conquest. There I must plant your flag, which is the cross, and crown you as my conquering King.

Even this small part, Lord Jesus, is a frightening assignment. I know the wild rebellion of my heart. I know how traitorous are my passions and how cowardly is my will. I feel within me the presence of spies and rebels. I remember how often I have surrendered my heart and soul to Satan, your relentless enemy. 

Yet you are already in my soul, Lord Jesus. You have come this morning in Holy Communion, which is your gentle conquest. The work is almost done, if only I will permit it and accept it. Take my heart and soul, King of the world, and make them a part of your kingdom forever. …

 


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