I have done. Some, perhaps will wish that I had given more space to the distinct examination of the question so much controverted, wherein consists the efficacy of grace, and which the Systems of different Schools attribute to–physical premotion,–to congruous grace,–to concomitant grace,–to a delectation which overcomes by reason of moral motion–to a delectation which overcomes by reason of its superiority in degree. But for this, such a book as mine, which I deliberately intended should be small and more likely to be read, would not have been enough. To explore this vast sea many volumes would be required. But this work has been sufficiently performed by others, and, moreover, it was beside my purpose. Still, however, I wished to establish the Proposition–that God gives to all the grace of Prayer, for the honour of God’s Providence and Goodness, and to be of assistance to sinners, to prevent them from giving themselves up to despair, thinking themselves deprived of grace; and, at the same time, to take from them all excuse for saying that they have not strength to resist the assaults of the senses and of hell. I have shown them that of those who are lost, no one is damned for the Original sin of Adam, but solely for his own sin, because God refuses to no one the grace of Prayer, whereby we may obtain His assistance to overcome every desire and every temptation.
After all, of course, my principal intention was to recommend to all men the use of Prayer, that most powerful and necessary means of grace, in order that all men may more diligently and earnestly attend to it, if they wish to be saved. Many poor souls lose God’s grace, and continue to live in sin, and are finally damned, for this very reason, that they did not pray, nor have recourse to God for assistance. The worst of the matter is (I cannot help repeating it), that so few preachers and so few confessors recommend Prayer to their hearers and penitents, without which it is impossible to observe the laws of God, and to obtain perseverance in His grace.
Having observed that so many passages, both of the Old and the New Testament, assert the absolute necessity of Prayer, I have taken care to see that on the Missions given by our Congregation, there should always be a Sermon on Prayer, which is now our custom of long years standing. And this I say, and repeat, and will keep repeating as long as I live, that our salvation wholly depends on Prayer; and, therefore, that all writers in their books, all preachers in their sermons, all confessors in their instructions to their penitents, should inculcate nothing more strongly than continual Prayer. They should admonish them, and unceasingly exhort them: Pray! Pray I Never cease to pray! For if you pray, your salvation will be certain; but if you leave off praying, certain will be your damnation. All preachers and directors ought to preach this; because, according to the teaching of every Catholic School, there is no doubt of this truth, that he who prays obtains grace and is saved. Those who practise it are too few; and this is the reason why so few are saved.
PRAYER TO JESUS CHRIST, TO OBTAIN HIS HOLY LOVE
My crucified Love, my dear Jesus! I believe in Thee, and confess Thee to be the true Son of God and my Saviour. I adore Thee from the abyss of my own nothingness, and I thank Thee for the death Thou didst suffer for me, that I might obtain the life of Divine grace. My beloved Redeemer, to Thee I owe all my salvation. Through Thee I have hitherto escaped hell. Through Thee have I received the pardon of my sins. But I am so ungrateful that, instead of loving Thee, I have repeated my offences against Thee. I deserve to be condemned, so as not to be able to love Thee any more. But no, my Jesus, punish me in any other way, but not in this. If I have not loved Thee in time past, I love Thee now; and I desire nothing but to love Thee with all my heart. But without Thy help I can do nothing. Since Thou dost command me to love Thee, give me also the strength to fulfil this Thy sweet and loving precept. Thou hast promised to grant all that we ask of Thee: You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you (Jo. xv. 7). Confiding, then, in this promise, my dear Jesus, I ask, first of all, pardon of all my sins; and I repent of them above all things, because I have offended Thee, O Infinite Goodness! I ask for holy perseverance in Thy grace until death. But above all, I ask for the gift of Thy holy love. Ah, my Jesus, my Hope, my Love, my All, inflame me with that love which Thou didst come on earth to enkindle! For this end make me always live in conformity with Thy holy will. Enlighten me that I may understand more and more how worthy Thou art to be loved, and that I may know the immense love Thou hast borne me, especially in giving Thy life for me. Grant, then, that I may love Thee with all my heart, and may love Thee always, and never cease to beg of Thee the grace to love Thee in this life; that always living in Thy love, and dying in Thy love, I may come one day to love Thee with all my strength in heaven, never to cease loving Thee for all eternity.
O Mother of beautiful love, O Mary, my advocate and refuge, who art of all creatures the most beautiful, the most loving, and the most beloved of God, and whose only desire it is to see Him loved! ah, by the love that thou bearest to Jesus Christ, pray for me, and obtain for me the grace to love Him always and with all my heart! This I ask and hope for from Thee. Amen.
PRAYER TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF BEING CONSTANT IN PRAYER.
O God of my soul, I hope in Thy goodness that Thou hast pardoned all my offences against Thee, and that I am now in the state of grace. I thank Thee for it with all my heart, and I hope to thank Thee for all eternity. The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever (Ps. lxxxviii. 2). I know well why I have fallen, because I have not had recourse to Thee when I was tempted, to ask for holy perseverance. For the future, I firmly resolve to recommend myself always to Thee and especially when I see myself in danger of offending Thee again. I will always fly to Thy mercy, invoking always the most holy Names of Jesus and Mary, with full confidence that when I pray Thou wilt not fail to give me the strength I need to resist my enemies. This I resolve and promise to do. But of what use, O my God, will all these resolutions and promises be, if Thou dost not assist me with Thy grace to put them in practice; that is, to have recourse to Thee in all dangers? O Eternal Father, help me, for the love of Jesus Christ, and let me never omit recommending myself to Thee whenever I am tempted. I know that Thou dost always help me when I have recourse to Thee; but my fear is that I should forget to recommend myself to Thee, and my negligence be the cause of my ruin, that is, the loss of Thy grace, the greatest evil that can befall me. Ah, by the merits of Jesus Christ, give me the grace to pray to Thee; but grant me such an abundant grace that I may always pray, and pray as I ought!
O my Mother Mary, whenever I have had recourse to thee, thou hast obtained for me the help which has kept me from falling! Now I come to beg of thee to obtain a still greater grace, namely, that of recommending myself always to thy Son and to thee in all my necessities. My Queen, thou obtainest all thou dost desire from God by the love thou bearest to Jesus Christ; obtain for me now this grace which I beg of thee–namely, to pray always, and never to cease to pray, even unto death. Amen.