Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Perseverance in Prayer - St. Alphonsus Liguori

Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori--SERMON XXVI

14. Men feel annoyed at being frequently and importunately asked for a favor. But God exhorts us to pray frequently; and, instead of being dissatisfied, He is pleased with those who repeatedly ask his graces. Cornelius a Lapide says, that "God wishes us to persevere in prayer, even to importunity"—in LUG.,cap. xi. St. Jerome says: "This importunity with the Lord ig seasonable"—in Luc. xi. That God is pleased with frequent and persevering prayer, may be inferred from the words of Jesus Christ—"Ask, and it shall be given, you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you"—Luke, xi. 9. It was not enough to have said ask; but he added, seek, knock; in order to show, that, during our whole lives, we should be as importunate in supplicating, the divine graces, as beggars are in asking alms. Though they should be refused, they do not cease to cry out, or to knock at the door; they persist in asking relief till they obtain it.

15. If, then, we wish to obtain from God the gift of perseverance, we must ask him for it continually and with importunity. We must ask it when we rise in the morning, in our meditations, in hearing Mass, in our visits to the blessed sacrament, in going to bed at night, and particularly when we are tempted by the Devil to commit any sin. Thus, we must always have our mouths open praying to God, and saying: Lord, assist me; give me light; give me strength; keep thy hand upon me, and do not abandon me. We must do violence to the Lord. " Such violence ", says Tertullian, "is agreeable to God". The violence which we offer to God by repeated prayers does not offend him: on the contrary, it is pleasing and acceptable in his sight. " Prayer", according to St. John Climacus, " piously offers violence to God" Our supplications compel him, but in a manner grateful to him. He takesgreat complacency in seeing his mother honoured, and therefore wishes, as St. Bernard says, that all the graces we receive should pass through her hands. Hence the holy doctor exhorts us, " to seek grace, and to seek it through Mary, because she is a mother, and her prayer cannot be fruitless "—de A qiiced. When we ask her to obtain any grace for us, she graciously hears our petitions and prays for us: and the prayers of Mary are never rejected.

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