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
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
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 Gods 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 itconfidence 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.
Love and Confidence
Why Have You Loved Me?
Consider that no onewhether friend or brother, father or mother, lover
or spouseloves 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 Gods 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,
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 lovefor 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).
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?
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, Gods
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 youindeed, 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 fearsof 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
speak to Him.
Taken from How
to Converse Continually and Familiarly with God by TAN
Books & Publishers, Inc.
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