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  • John E. Crean, Jr., Obl.S.B., Ph.D.

Fears, Truth, and Surrender

"We all have secret fears to face,

Our minds and motives to amend;

We seek your truth, we need your grace,

Our living Lord and present friend."

This stanza, from an office hymn, says a lot about our common humanity. How many

secret fears are there lingering, hiding out in my mind? Such fears are often so well hidden, I

don’t even know they’re there. But they do their damage, if allowed to hide beneath the

surface, if I allow them to lurk there, like a hidden virus, doing damage to my soul. Amendment,

that is, putting things right, needs to happen, both in my active mind as well as in my hidden


As I admit all this, I need to recall Step Three all over again: surrender. I need to go there

where truth is (I am the way, the truth, and the life), to go to God where goodness, grace and

truth resides aplenty. I need to seek out only one person: our living Lord and present friend,


The antiphons to Psalm 37 I found particularly striking: the first, "Surrender to God, and

God will do everything for you"; and the third, "Wait for the LORD to lead, then follow in his way." Psalm 37 reverberates with the wisdom of Step Three about turning everything over, of

surrendering to our Higher Power. Verse five tells me commit your life to the LORD, trust in him

and he will act, and verse seven cautions me to be still before the LORD and wait in patience.

Verse 43 sums it all up by advising me to wait for the LORD and keep to his way.

A prayer following Psalm 39 sums it all up nicely:

"Through your Son you taught us, Father,

not to be fearful of tomorrow

but to commit our lives to your care.

Do not withhold your Spirit from us

but help us to find a life of peace after these days of trouble."

Since March is the third month of the year, it can be a helpful reminder about Step Three. Focus

on willingness rather than willfulness. Turn my will and my life over to God—as I understand

God—rather than clinging ever so tightly to my own druthers. Amen!

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