by Mary Beth Bracy –
Last summer was intense. When I left a situation that I believed was God’s long-term will for my life, I was exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. Driving down the highway, I reached for something in the passenger side that was beyond my grasp. Then, I realized I was starting to drive off the road from the passing lane. I quickly swerved, but overcompensated. The next thing I knew, I was in a tailspin. It seemed that regaining control of the car was hopeless. As I swirled around and around, I saw a tractor trailer and other cars coming toward me. In God’s mercy, my car finally stopped and I was able to continue on in the right lane.
During these wearisome times, many people feel overwhelmed and struggle with anxiety. It may seem that their lives are also spiraling out of control. This year, on several occasions, I came across some powerful prayers by Servant of God Don Dolindo Ruotolo who was called a saint by his contemporary, St. Padre Pio. Father Ruotolo’s Surrender Prayer, Surrender Novena and Rosary of Abandonment are beautiful healing and encouraging prayers that help us place everything in the hands of God.
Father Ruotolo was a priest from Naples, Italy (1882-1970), who had extraordinary communications with Jesus throughout his life. He referred to himself as “Mary’s little old man” and the Rosary was his constant companion. Padre Pio once said of this priest, “The whole of paradise is in your soul.” He suffered much pain and humiliation throughout his life and was once told by a bishop, “You will be a martyr, but in your heart, not with your blood.” His whole life is a testament to total abandonment to God.
The first time I encountered Father Ruotolo’s name was in the book For Greater Glory, by Fr. Michael Gaitley, which leads readers in a Consecration to our Heavenly Father. Then, when I returned from my sojourn, my mother handed me Father Ruotolo’s Surrender Novena and said, “I think you need to pray this.” Father Ruotolo’s words from the Surrender Prayer spoke to my heart:
“Abandonment means to shut the eyes of your soul in peace, moving your thoughts away from your troubles, and instead of thinking about your worries and pain, let Me take over your troubles. Simply say: ‘Jesus, You take over.’”
Perhaps you are thinking, ‘This is easier said than done!’ When I recently had to undergo an unexpected medical procedure, I was afraid at first. Then, entrusting myself to Jesus’ mercy—through prayers of surrender—and the prayers of loved ones, my peace was renewed. Our Lord continually reminds me not to be overcome by pain, but to let Him overcome my pain by His Cross and Resurrection. He says: You are not alone. You are my beloved child. You are loved. I am leading you. Open your heart that I may fill you with My Love.
Sometimes just repeating simple prayers like “Jesus, you take over” or “Jesus, I trust in you” helps me to develop a continual awareness of God’s loving presence. Just this morning, I again encountered Father Ruotolo’s Surrender Prayer in the book In Sinu Jesu (Ignatius Press) by a Benedictine Monk. I realized as I prayed before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that maybe God is trying to tell me something with all of these reminders!
A passage from Father Ruotolo’s Surrender Prayer really seems to encapsulate what God has been saying to me:
If I have to take you in a different direction from the one you are looking at, I will train you, I pick you up in my arms and you will find yourself, like a baby sleeping in his mother’s arms, on the other shore. What gives you immense stress and hurts you is your reasoning over it, your thoughts and the pains it gives you; it is wanting at all costs to take care by yourself of what is afflicting you. How many things I can do, be it a material or a spiritual need, when the soul turns to me, looks at me and says to me, “Jesus, you take over” and closes its eyes and rests in me!
Often, when I look back at the times in my life when nothing made sense and everything seemed hopeless, I realize how magnanimous and tender God was in weaving the tapestry of my life. Perhaps the path I was on would have led to destruction, so He rerouted me to safeguard me.
Father Ruotolo’s Rosary of Abandonment is a simple, yet profound, prayer to help us surrender ourselves to God, our loving Father.
- Begin by saying: God come to my assistance. Lord make haste to help me.
- Then, say a Glory Be, Our Father, and Hail Mary.
- On the first, third and fifth decades pray: “Jesus, You take over!” (10 times), followed by a Glory Be.
- On the second and fourth decades say: “Mother Mary, guide me!” (10 times), followed by a Glory Be.
- Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen.
As we abandon ourselves into God’s arms, even when the world seems to be falling apart, we will begin to see the miracles that He is working in our lives. So, I will let Him do the steering in my life. “Jesus, You take over!”