How many of us have a best friend we never talk to? Not that they moved away and we just don’t talk to them as much as we used to, but someone we never talk to yet still call them our friend? No one!
Now, imagine that friend’s name is Jesus. How can we have a relationship with him if we never talk to him? Or only call upon him when we are in crisis? Saint Alphonsus Liguori, pastor, bishop, and Doctor of the Church, gives us the answer in his writings about the power of prayer in Prayer, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection. Check out some of these truth bombs about how prayer will draw us closer to God so he is a friend and not just a problem solver.
“Indeed, how could we ever resist our enemies and observe God’s precepts, especially since Adam’s sin, which has rendered us so weak and infirm, unless we had prayer as a means whereby we can obtain from God sufficient light and strength to enable us to observe them?”
“Our prayers are so dear to God that He has appointed the angels to present them to Him as soon as they come forth from our mouths.”
“Prayer is a treasure; he who prays the most receives most.”
“This is the chief fruit of mental prayer, to ask God for the graces which we need for perseverance and for eternal salvation; and chiefly for this reason it is that mental prayer is morally necessary for the soul, to enable it to preserve itself in the grace of God.”
“It is not necessary to retire into the desert and eat nothing but herbs. What does it cost us to say, My God, help me! Lord, assist me! Have mercy on me! Is there anything more easy than this? And this little will suffice to save us, if we will be diligent in doing it.”
“If we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours; and we shall have our own failure to answer for, because we did not pray.”
“Besides, it is quite certain that the prayers of others are of great use to sinners and are very pleasing to God; and God complains of His servants who do not recommend sinners to Him, as he once complained to St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi, to whom He said: “See, my daughter, how the Christians are in the devil’s hands; if my elect did not deliver them by their parents, they would be devoured.””
“True it is that God has not promised to grant our requests, when those for whom we pray put a positive impediment in the way of their conversion; but still, God, in His goodness, has often deigned, at the prayer of His servants, to bring back the most blinded and obstinate sinners to a state of salvation, by means of extraordinary graces.”
“The heart of man will never find true peace if it does not empty itself of all that is not God, so as to leave itself all free for His love, that He alone may possess the whole of it. But this the soul cannot do of itself; it must obtain it of God by repeated prayers.”
“Without mental prayer, the soul is without light. The eternal truths are all spiritual things that are seen not with eyes of the body but with the eyes of the mind; that is, by reflection and consideration.”
“He who does not sleep has not strength to work nor to walk, but goes tottering along the way. The soul does not repose and acquire strength in meditation is not able to resist temptations, and totters on the road.”
“Without petitions on our part, God does not grant the divine helps; and without aid from God, we cannot observe the Commandments.”
“All the saints have become saints by mental prayer. Mental prayer is the blessed furnace in which souls are inflamed with the divine love.”
There is so much to learn from the writings of St. Liguori. What is wonderful is that he weaves in the study of other saints on prayer and Holy Scripture, and compiles it into an in depth study of prayer. In Prayer, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, we learn the necessity, power and conditions of prayer and the grace given to us through prayer. Finally, Saint Liguori gives us the tools of prayer including beautiful prayers written by him to help us along our journey of mental prayer. It is through prayer that we become friends of Jesus. Be sure to talk to him often, and he will call you friend.
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