Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Latin Doctor Quote of the Day - St. Robert Bellarmine on Prayer

                                                       (St Robert Bellarmine)

First prayer enlightens the mind. For man cannot intently fix the eye of the mind upon God who is light and not be enlightened by Him. ''Come to Him,'' says David, ''and be enlightened'' (Ps 33:6). Second, prayer nourishes faith and trust. For the more frequently one converses with another, the more confidently he approaches him. Third, prayer kindles love and prepares the mind to receive greater gifts, as St. Augustine says. Fourth, prayer increases humility and holy fear. For one coming to prayer realises he is a beggar before God and, as a result, usually stands more humbly before Him. And one who needs God's help in all things is most careful to avoid offending Him. Fifth, frequent prayer leads to a contempt for all temporal things in the heart of one who prays. For all earthly things inevitably become cheap and soiled for one who steadily gazes upon things heavenly and eternal, as St. Augustine shows in book nine of the Confessions. Sixth, prayer brings forth an incredible delight since by its mean a man begins to taste the sweetness of the Lord. The greatness of his sweetness can be grasped from the fact that we know that some have not only spent whole nights, but were even able to spend whole days and whole nights without effort. Finally, besides its usefulness and pleasure prayer also confers upon one who prays no small dignity and honour. Even the angels honour the soul they see so readily and so frequently admitted to converse with the divine Majesty'' - The Art of Dying Well

Comment: The prayer of the just man is in some sense the continuation of his adoration at the Altar. The acceptable oblation is one made in humility before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Latter offered on the Cross. If we so define the Christian life as the configuration of the justified man to the likeness of His Saviour, should we not imitate the virtues and example of Jesus in every instant? He who spent whole nights in prayer and in the most intimate union of love with His Heavenly Father. How are we to be moulded into the likeness of the Word made flesh, unto the renewal of our minds, if the Archetype is completely absent from our desires? How are we to come to know Him? Through prayer. Through simplicity and humility before God. Through asking for His continual pardon and conferring of grace. All this and more shall not be denied to the man who approaches God. After all, who could deny that such a holy work could be performed without the sweet motion of efficient grace? 

 His Divine Majesty does not tire in blessing and showing mercy to the ones He calls to seek His face. Who can be saved? The man who prays. A slothful and negligent soul who tires of prayer is a sure sign of reprobation. 

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