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Learn how we should speak to God our Father

How to Converse Continually and Familiarly with God
St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, Founder of the Redemptorists

“Let nothing hinder thee from praying always...” —Ecclesiasticus 18:22
“Pray without ceasing.” —1 Thessalonians 5:17
“Pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” —Luke 22:40

“Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears— of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him.” —St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Chapter 1
Love and Confidence

Job was astonished at seeing Almighty God so intent on doing good to us that He seems to have nothing more at heart than to love us and to induce us to love Him in return. In his amazement he cried out to the Lord: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him?” (Ps. 8:5). Is it not a mistake, then, to think it a lack of respect for God’s infinite Majesty to act toward Him with great confidence and familiarity. Assuredly, Loving Souls, you should go to God with all humility and respect, humbling yourselves in His presence, especially when you remember your past ingratitude and sins. Yet you should practice the greatest possible love and confidence in treating with Him. True, He is infinite Majesty, but He is also infinite Goodness and infinite Love. There can be no greater Lord than God; neither can there be a more ardent lover than He. Far from despising our confidence in Him, He rejoices that we have it—confidence and familiarity and affection like that which little children show toward their mothers. Behold how He invites us to come to Him, and the loving embraces which He promises to lavish on us: “You shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you.” (Is. 66:12-13). Just as a mother finds pleasure in taking her little child on her lap, there to feed and caress him, in like manner our loving God shows His fondness for His beloved souls who have given themselves entirely to Him and have placed all their hope in His goodness.

Chapter 2
Why Have You Loved Me?

Consider that no one—whether friend or brother, father or mother, lover or spouse—loves you more than your God. And divine grace is the inestimable treasure through which vile creatures and servants like ourselves become dear friends of our Creator. “For she is an infinite treasure to men! which they that use, become the friends of God.” (Wis. 7:14). It was for the purpose of increasing our confidence that He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7), so to speak, humbling Himself to the point of becoming a man in order to live in familiar converse with us. “He conversed with men.” (Bar. 3:38). He went so far as to become a little Babe and to live in poverty and die on a cross for our sake. He even placed Himself under the species of bread so as to be with us always and in the most intimate union. “He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:57). In short, so great is God’s love for you that He seems to love no one but you. And therefore, you should love no one but Him.* (*That is, we should love only God with an absolute love which supersedes every other consideration. —Publisher, 2005.)

You should be able to say to Him: “My Beloved to me, and I to Him.” (Cant. 2:16). My God has given Himself entirely to me, and I give my whole self to Him; He has chosen me for His beloved, and I choose Him from among all for my only love. “My Beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands.” (Cant. 5:10). Often, therefore, speak to God in these words: “O my Lord, why have You loved me so much? What good do You find in my poor self? Have You forgotten the injuries I have done You? But since You have treated me with so much love—for instead of condemning me to Hell, You have given me graces without number— I will henceforth love no one but You, my God and my all. What grieves me most in my past offenses, O my loving God, is not so much the punishment I have deserved, as the displeasure I have given You, Who are worthy of infinite love. But You never reject a repentant and humble heart. ‘A contrite and humbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.’ (Ps. 50:19). Now indeed I wish for no one else but You alone in this life and in the next. ‘For what have I in Heaven? and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth? . . . Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever.’ (Ps. 72:25-26). You alone are and will always be the only Lord of my heart and will; You alone my only good, my heaven, my hope, my all. ‘Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever.’ ” (Ps. 72:26).

Chapter 3
The Mercies of the Lord

If you wish to strengthen your confidence in God still more, often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you, and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life, to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love. With such thoughts in your mind, now that you have resolved to love Him and please Him with all your strength, your only fear should be to fear God too much and to place too little confidence in Him. There can be no surer pledge of His love for you than His past mercies toward you. God is displeased at the diffidence of souls who love Him sincerely and whom He Himself loves. If, therefore, you wish to please His loving heart, go to Him henceforth with the greatest possible confidence and affection.

“Behold, I have graven thee in My hands: thy walls are always before My eyes.” (Is. 49:16). “Beloved Soul,” says the Lord, “why do you fear? Why are you afraid? Your name is written in My hands so that I may never forget to do you good. Perhaps you are afraid of your enemies? Know that I can never forget to protect you, since I have always before My eyes the charge of your defense.” With this thought to rejoice him, David said to God: “O Lord, Thou hast crowned us, as with a shield of Thy good will.” (Ps. 5:13). Who, O Lord, can ever do us harm if Your loving kindness is cast all around us as a wall of defense? Above all, reanimate your confidence by thinking of the gift which God has given us in the person of Jesus Christ. “God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16). How can we fear, asks the Apostle, that God will ever deny us anything since He has given us His own Son? “He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).

Chapter 4
The Paradise of God

“My delights were to be with the children of men.” (Prov. 8:31). The heart of man is, so to speak, the paradise of God. Oh, love the God who loves you! Since His delights are to be with you, let yours be found in Him. Spend all the days of your life with Him in whose company you hope to pass an eternity of bliss. Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. It is a great mistake, as we have already remarked, to be afraid of Him and to act in His presence like a timid and craven slave trembling with fright before his master. But a far greater mistake it would be to think that to converse with God is wearisome and bitter. No, it cannot be. “For her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness.” (Wis. 8:16).* (*In the Old Testament book of Wisdom, God’s attribute of divine Wisdom is personified as she. —Publisher, 2005.) Ask those who love Him with a sincere love, and they will tell you that they find no greater or prompter relief amid the troubles of their life than in loving conversation with their Divine Friend. You are not asked to apply your mind
continually to the thought of God and lay aside the fulfillment of your duties and your recreations. Nothing else is required than to act toward God, in the midst of your occupations, as you do, even when busy, toward those who love you and whom you love. Your God is ever beside you—indeed, He is even within you. “In Him we live, and move, and are.” (Acts 17:28). Not only is there no need of an intermediary through whom He would want you to speak to Him, but He finds His delight in having you treat with Him personally and in all confidence. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears—of everything that concerns you. But above all, converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not
speak to Him.

Taken from How to Converse Continually and Familiarly with God by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc.

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