In the spiritual life, we need a central idea: something so basic and comprehensive that it encompasses everything else. According to Carmelite Father Wilfrid Stinissen, surrender to God, abandonment to the One who loves us completely, is that central reality. The life of Jesus shows us the centrality of abandonment, for it is truly the beginning and the end of his mission on earth.
In this simple but profound book, Father Stinissen distinguishes three degrees or stages in abandonment. The first stage consists of accepting and assenting to God's will as it manifests itself in all circumstances of life. The second is actively doing God's will at every moment of one's life. In the third stage, abandonment to God is so complete that one has become a tool in God's hands. At this stage it is no longer I who do God's will, but God who accomplishes his will through me.
Father Wilfrid Stinissen was born in Antwerp, Belgium, where he entered the Carmelite Order in 1944. He was sent to Sweden in 1967 to cofound a small contemplative community. His many books on the spiritual life have been translated into multiple languages. Among his works available in English are Nourished by the Word: Reading the Bible Contemplatively, This Is the Day the Lord Has Made: 365 Daily Meditations and The Gift of Spiritual Direction: On Spiritual Guidance and Care for the Soul.