Two Great Saints on Prayer November 28, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From the first Chapter of St. Peter of Alcantara’s Treatise on Prayer and Meditation, two meditations on the absolutely vital role of our prayer lives in the working out of our salvation through God’s Grace. The first is ostensibly from St. Bonaventure, but may in fact come from another Franciscan called Joannes a Caulibus. The second most definitely comes from St. Lawrence Justinian. Both clearly relate the importance – the absolutely vital role – a deeply committed prayer life must play in our development of virtue and growth in the interior life. Just some spiritual fruit for you as we launch into a new liturgical year and a season that should be deeply immersed in prayer and penance, Advent. I pray you find this excerpt edifying:
“If you would endure with patience the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer. If you would acquire strength and courage to vanquish the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer. If you would crush your self-will, with all its inclinations and desires, be a man of prayer. If you would know the wiles of satan and defend yourself against his snares, be a man of prayer. If you would live with a joyous heart and pass lightly along the road of penance and sacrifice, be a man of prayer. If you would drive away vain thoughts and cares which worry the soul like flies, be a man of prayer. If you would nourish the soul with the sap of devotion and have it always filled with good thoughts, be a man of prayer. If you would strengthen and establish your heart in the ways of God, be a man of prayer. Finally, if you would uproot from your soul all vices and plant virtues in their place, be a man of prayer. For herein does a man receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things. Nay more, would you mount to the summit of contemplation and enjoy the sweet embraces of the Spouse, exercise yourself in prayer, for it is the road that leads to contemplation and to the taste of what is heavenly. Do you see now how great is the strength and power of prayer? In proof of all that has been said – apart from the witness of the divine Scriptures – let that suffice for the moment as proof sufficient what we have heard and seen, what we see every day, viz., many simple persons who have achieved all we have enumerated above, and even greater, by the exercise of prayer.”
Such are the words of St. Bonaventure. What treasure could one find richer or fuller than that? Listen again to what another very religious and holy doctor says on this subject, speaking of the same virtue (St. Lawrence Justinian):
“In prayer the soul cleanses itself from sin, charity is nourished, faith is strengthened, hope is made secure, the spirit rejoices, the soul grows tender, and the heart is purified; truth discovers itself, temptation is overcome, sadness takes to flight, the senses are renewed, failing virtue is made good, tepidity disappears, the rust of sin is rubbed away. In it are brought forth lively flashes of heavenly desires, and in these fires rises the flame of divine love. Great are the excellences of prayer, great its privileges. The heavens open before it and unveil therein their secrets, and to it are the ears of God ever attentive.”
I don’t know about you, but I found both exhortations to prayer moving and beautiful. May God be praised for sharing His Divine wisdom with such Saints, who in turn share it with us, prayerfully groping along the hard and rocky path to salvation, while we watch others laughing at us and mocking us as they speed by on the wide road to perdition.
Spare some prayers for them, too. And may God keep us on the narrow way to salvation, rather than the superhighway to destruction. Pray for the grace of always making good, thorough confessions! Many souls are lost because they are too embarrassed to share some sin they keep hidden away in the recesses of their soul. The priests have heard everything! Don’t let embarrassment and shame – tricks of the devil – keep you from making a good, full, detailed confession, and implore God the grace also to have true contrition for your sins and the firmest purpose of amendment.