Surrender! by Fr. Larry Richards


The reason this book is different – “most “self-help” books teach that we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of anybody else. People of God, that’s absolute garbage and not the gospel of Jesus Christ! The gospel teaches us that if you give away your life, then you are going to find life – the total opposite of what the world teaches.”

For so many of us, surrender is used to mean conquered, defeated, or filled with despair. But in this book, surrender means abandoning our lives to the One who loves us and gave His life for us. Most people think that the concept of surrendering will cost them everything – and it will! We all know that the theme song to hell is, “I did it my way.”

Christianity isn’t the focus on self. It is the forgetfulness of self! It’s a surrender of love to the Father. When you and I fully surrender, that’s when we become holier. When we decide that we want to live life God’s way instead of our way, we are going to have to give up our way and trust that God’s way is better.

This world is not our home. We are just passing through (See 1 Peter 1:17, 2:11). Our true home is heaven and everything we do should be to prepare us for our true home. But so often we live is such a way that it seems this is our home. Because of that, we live in constant fear of dying.

“If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:3

Christianity is a religion of love that follows a God of love. If my work isn’t done in love, it is for nothing. Holiness is NOT the focus on self, but the focus on others. We need to be love in a world that doesn’t know love! A christian is not just a person who lives a moral life. Some good athiests live moral lives. A Christian, by definition, is one who no longer lives his life, but Jesus Christ lives inside and through him.

“I have been crucified with Christ. So the life I live now is no longer my own, Jesus Christ lives inside of me. I still live my human life, yes, but it is of faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me.” – Galatians 2:19-20

Being a Christian is going to cost you your life. If it doesn’t cost you your life, you’re not a Christian yet.

Love – means that you do what’s best for people to get them into heaven. That’s what love is. Padre Pio would have to spiritually shock some people during confession to get them to see the reality of what they are doing.

“Did I do at least one act of unselfishness today? Did I give my life away at least once today?”

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least” – Dorothy Day

Love is hard. Love begins when you are willing to lay down your life for the person on the bottom of your list, the one you can’t stand. That is love.

“Where there is no love, put love. And then you will find love.” – St. John of the Cross

When you put yourself last, God puts you first. The world tells you to put yourself first, take care of number one, no one else is going to do it, but that’s what God says. Do you really think you can out give God?

Isn’t it amazing that when we do things that are against the will of God – get drunk, high, sleep around – all it does it make us emptier?

Every one of us has a hole inside of our heart and we are constantly trying to fill it up. We try to fill up the emptiness inside with all sort of garbage. But garbage only fills the emptiness for a while; ultimately, it just makes the hole in the soul bigger. Nothing you ever have in this life will fill up the emptiness inside. Nothing. Everything in this world is temporary. The only thing that will fill up our emptiness is something that is eternal. The only thing that’s eternal is God and His love.

” I believe most people want only their will, not God’s will. You can tell when they are living their will because they do not have peace. They are always trying the next thing. They are always trying to fill up the emptiness because they are not doing what they were created to do. Now God can fix that, if you let Him and do it His way.”

The truth is that God came to set you free. Jesus became one of us to save His people from their sins. Sin, by definition, is doing things our way instead of God’s way.

At the end of every day, walk through the day in your mind, go through each thing with Jesus, every encounter you had with a person or on the phone and ask yourself this question, “Did they see me today or did they see Jesus today?” If the answer is that they saw me, then there is still a lot that needs to be repented. People are supposed to be looking and seeing Jesus in my life. Remember, John the Baptist’s desire was,

“He must increase and I must decrease” – John 3:30

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.” This means that the way we are living speaks so loudly that it really does not matter what we’re saying.

The old saying – you become what you eat – the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324) – the more you receive the Eucharist the more you become Jesus.

Prayer is not to conform the will of God to our will. Prayer is about confirming our will to the will of God. When you and I say, “Your will be done,” that means everything in our lives today, except for sin, must be the will of God. If you and I want to do it our own way, then God will let you be the god of your own life.

God’s will is always better than your will. You cannot see tomorrow, but He can. He wants you to be happy more than you want to be happy.

Story of St. Francis – One day he was hoeing his garden. Someone came up to him and asked, “Francis, what if I were to tell you that in 3 hours you would be dead. What would you do?” St. Francis said, “I would keep hoeing my garden.”

He was able to say that because he was doing the will of God. The key to this kind of peace is to live every day so that no matter what happens, if God calls you home today, it does not matter. You keep doing what you are doing because this is God’s will.

We become saints when our will and God’s will become one.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and then everything else will be given to you.” – Matthew 6:33

Am I building up the kingdom of heaven or am I building up my own kingdom? Am I doing everything for God’s glory, or for my glory?

The surest sign of God’s presence is someone’s life is joy. If there is no joy then we are not living the will of God. We must be people of joy.

God’s will comes from living in relationship with Jesus, and this relationship begins when you surrender your life completely to Him.

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