Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - Do not be afraid to seek help from the Lord, who never denies
it to those who pray to Him with humility, remembering that "he who prays
is saved, he who does not pray is damned." This is the teaching that comes
from St. Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori, whose feast we celebrate today, and to
whom Benedict XVI dedicated his reflection for the general audience.
In fact the Pope resumed his weekly appointment with the faithful today who gathered for the occasion in the square in front of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
The founder of the Redemptorists and patron of confessors, who lived from 1696 to 1787 "in a time of great rigor," "recommended confessors to administer the sacrament of confession with joy showing the embrace of God the Father who in His mercy never ceases to welcome the repentant son. "
Benedict XVI focused in particular on the Treaty of 1759 "Prayer: The Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection " that St. Alphonsus "considered the most useful of his writings" and which says that prayer is the means "to attain salvation and all the graces we need. " " First of all, saying it is a means, reminds of the ends: God created us out of love, to gift us life in abundance; but because of sin this goal, eternal life, has, so to speak, distanced itself as we all know and only the grace of God can render it accessible. To explain this basic truth and make immediately clear the real risk of man's "becoming lost", St. Alphonsus coined a famous and very simple maxim: " He who prays is certainly saved; he who does not pray is certainly damned.". "Commenting on this precious phrase, he added: " to save one's soul without prayer is most difficult, and even [as we have seen] impossible...but by praying our salvation is made secure, and very easy". "In short " if we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours; because we did not pray. "
"In any situation in life - added the Pope - in every situation of life we need to pray, especially in times of trial and difficulty. We must always knock at the door of the Lord with confidence, and submit to our petitions, in the certainty of receiving what we need. "
"This is the central question: what is really needed in my life." The answer, with Alphonsus is "health, meaning not only the health of the body, but primarily that of the soul.". "Only through prayer can we accept the grace that illuminates us in every situation helping us discern the true and good."
It "strengthens us". "We often know what is good, but are incapable of doing it." " The disciple of the Lord knows he is always exposed to temptation and in prayer never fails to ask God for help conquer it." In this context, Benedict XVI recalled Saint Alphonsus' citing St. Philip Neri, who said that every morning he prayed: "My God, beware of Philip; otherwise he will betray you'."
"We too - the Pope said - aware of our weakness, must seek the help of God with humility, relying only on the wealth of His mercy." St. Alphonsus said "we are poor, but if we are poor, God is rich," meaning "do not to be afraid of seeking the strength we need in God."
St. Alphonsus, concluded the Pope "reminds us that the relationship with God is essential in our lives, it is the fundamental relationship" that " that directs, illuminates and makes safe and peaceful our path, even in the midst of difficulties and dangers."