Last week I drew attention to the great spiritual wisdom to be found in the writings of St Alphonsus Liguori. He teaches us much about the need for daily prayer. Today I would like to offer some more of his reflections, this time on the topic of the mercy of God:
“When you suffer misfortune of any kind, endeavour to accept whatever comes as coming to you from the hand of God. … Say simply, the Lord has permitted me to bear these sufferings not because He dislikes me but because He loves me. And shall I not therefore accept them with resignation?
The Lord is full of goodness to those who seek Him. No one has ever trusted in the Lord and been rejected.
When souls seek to love the Lord, He finds it impossible not to love them in return.
Souls who love their crucified Lord in the midst of their own desolation grow closer to Him in their hearts.
In your prayers do not neglect to offer yourself to God unreservedly. From your heart say: “My Jesus, I give myself to You without reserve. I wish to be wholly Yours.”
As regards your prayers and reflections, never neglect to meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ. There is no other subject more calculated to elicit our love than the thought of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
I recommend prayer to you above all else. When you can say nothing else, simply say, “Lord, help me, and help me without delay.”
Keep on praying to Him with love and tenderness and have no anxiety that He will abandon you. Say in the words of the apostle … [nothing can] separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39).
When you are oppressed by fears for your salvation or by desolation of spirit, do not neglect to have recourse to Our Lady, who has been given to us by God as the Mother of those who are afflicted.
The more trust we have in the Lord the more we receive from Him. He Himself has declared that He rewards those who trust Him.
God’s infinite majesty certainly deserves all our reverence and submission, but He Himself prefers to receive from souls desirous of loving Him their love and confidence rather than fear and servility.
Your love should be centred above all else on the two great mysteries of our Lord’s love, the Holy Sacrament of the Altar and the Passion of Jesus Christ. If the love of all human hearts could be concentrated in one heart it would not approach in the slightest degree to the greatness of the love which Jesus Christ has shown us in these two mysteries. And so, in short, concentrate all your efforts for the future on love for God, and confidence in His great mercy.”
St Alphonsus inspires us to an ever-deeper love of God, and a constant sense of trust in His love and mercy. May we never be slow to turn to Our Most Holy Redeemer, who alone is the source of our deepest joy and happiness.
Fr Gerard, CSsR