those who pray shall be saved

KEEP PRAYING: NEVER STOP PRAYING!

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                                   “Pray without ceasing” (1. Thes. 5:17)

Mark these words as so true and so important that they should be engraved in your mind and in your heart and possibly even tattooed to your hand so that you don’t forget them: – the decline of supernatural life begins when you start neglecting prayer. When prayer is completely abandoned you have simply returned to “the world” for your comfort and repose. You were made for prayer, and the language of the soul is prayer. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

But do we have time to “be still” and be in the presence of God, to talk to Him and to listen to Him, and to make our needs known to Him? As a flower needs water and sunshine, we need prayer. And so it is incalculably harmful to us when we consciously or unconsciously make the decision not to pray, and thus put up a barrier between ourselves and our true happiness: a personal relationship with our God and Eternal Father. Oh Holy Spirit, give me a renewed and zealous attention to prayer; give me the grace to see the incalculable power of prayer; help me to see with Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri that those who pray shall be saved (see CCC 2744).

Therefore, we must be committed to prayer.  It is akin to spiritual suicide not to pray. Prayer should be the very foundation of our lives as we grow closer and closer to God. And if we are in need of a certain virtue, say, for example, patience, or chastity, or the grace to pray better, we must relentlessly ask God for this grace in prayer. “Ask and it will be given to you”(Matt. 7:7).

Why is prayer so important, other than it being the very basis of your loving relationship with God? Here are two reasons:

1. Prayer directs our attention away from the passing things of this world (that so distract us) and toward God: in Whom all our happiness consists. Prayer, then, is a profound remedy against worldliness, since it augments our union with God.

2. In God’s Providential direction of the universe He has ordained that we should pray to Him, and He continually gives us actual graces to pray when we would rather not.

Father Hardon comments:

“And what is the primary source of grace that we always have at our disposal? It is prayer. ***  Why? Because part of the divine plan, which is what providence means, is that we should obtain many of the things we need only by asking God to grant them.” [Thus], “we have no choice; either we pray or we do not get the divine light and strength we need.”

I know that there are good reasons for not missing American Idol, or Hannity, or the Lions, or the 10 PM news, or playing that video game upon which rests the world’s safety from terrorism, but rest assured that it is a great mismanagement of our time to neglect prayer. Oh Happy Day when we understand this!

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

Sources: I am relying primarily on Father Weiss. On Page 83 of The Christian Life by the German Dominican, Father Albert M. Weiss, he talks about how “the decline of the supernatural life begins…with…the neglect of prayer.” 
He explains that this loss can only be “renewed” by a “zealous attention to prayer.” On page 80 he talks about the “incalculable…power of prayer.” On Page 81 he discusses how prayer withdraws us from the world and “turns [us] wholly to God.” You can see, then, that I have used these words of Father Weiss in several places in this note. Are you looking for a remarkable spiritual book?: get his book! I am not picking on any particular TV show, but I am suggesting that television and other electronic media often distract us from prayer (which should be a priority).

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THE ROSARY: AN INSTRUMENT OF PRAYER AND POWER

            “The Rosary is a prayer that always accompanies me” (Pope Francis)
Rosary, Prayer, Pray, Red, Hands

    
When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Mother Teresa in an apparition, as testified to by Blessed Mother Teresa herself, she told Mother Teresa to teach families to say the rosary (Come Be My Light, Doubleday, p. 99). When Mary appeared in Lourdes and then at Fatima, she came wearing a rosary. Why the importance of the rosary? Because without prayer it is very difficult to overcome the world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri: “Those who pray are certainly  saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned” (no. 2744). The “world” wants to drown out our desire for God: to make God irrelevant. As one person once said, “who needs God when you have a Cadillac?” The world places a high priority on things rather than God. Go to a mall: where is God to be found?
     To remedy this downward pull of worldliness, we need prayer – especially prayer that is concentrated on the life of Christ, from his birth to his resurrection. The rosary accomplishes this need in a powerful way because it joins our sometimes very weak prayers to those of the Blessed Virgin whom Jesus loves with the most indescribable of loves. Mary presents our prayers to the Lord in a way that makes those prayers very pleasing to Him.
     The great spiritual writer of the 19th century, F.W. Faber, whom The Catholic Encyclopedia calls “a master” of the mystical life, says in one of his books that “I cannot conceive a man as being spiritual who does not habitually say the rosary” (Growth in Holiness), and Faber was a convert. He justifies this strong statement by saying that if we are going to persevere in the faith we need to perpetually keep Mary and Jesus before us: and that is what the rosary does. He mentions that the rosary combines vocal and mental prayer, presumably meaning that it strengthens our interior lives and aids in contemplating the presence of God. It is Mary’ prayer: it is a prayer, as Faber states, that has been strongly sanctioned by the Church and the saints.
     There is a “strange seduction” in the world that draws our hearts away from the one true good that we all need: God. The rosary is the antidote to this deception.  
As Deacon Marc once said, the rosary repels evil and promotes virtue. The Blessed Virgin always has our best interests in mind, to wit: prayer and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We should pray the rosary with great love and confidence: it is a devotion very dear to our Lord’s heart.
     My friend: say the rosary as often as possible. Devotion to Mary is the “safety of souls.”
 

“All for Jesus,”

Tom
 

P.S. In notes published after his death, the following was said by Father Faber: “In consequence of all these blessings [from saying the Rosary], the devil makes the Rosary a special subject of temptations, weariness, contempt, and the like. Persevere in it, and it will itself be the chain of your own final perseverance.” He also calls the rosary “an instrument of power.”  Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, p. 308

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