LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A Simple Way

‘Life is given us that we may learn to die well, and we never think of it ! To die well we must live well.’ So said the S. Curé d’Ars, whose feast falls today.

Of course the Holy Curé also said a great deal more about just how we were to live well, and thus deserve to live forever with God in Heaven : and I certainly haven’t got the space to address here everything he said . . . but that point does seem to me to be a fundamental one, and one which deserves, today especially, a little consideration.

How, we may ask, can we live well, amidst all the trial and temptations of this world ? Well, I suspect that the S. Curé gives us a very good – if not actually the best – answer in another of his dicta.

In his ‘Catechism on Prayer’, he says ‘God is everywhere ready to hear your prayers’ : which may be a useful thought when we remember the words of S. Paul to the Thessalonians ‘Pray without ceasing’. To pray without ceasing is obviously a good and effective way of approaching God, and by bringing ourselves closer to Him in this way we must, surely, bring ourselves closer to His will : but how easy is it for most of us to do this ? Not very, I suspect.

Prayer, for most of us, is something which requires a setting; a Church, or a quiet corner, or perhaps the sight of a wayside crucifix, or some other trigger; we seem to develop a belief that prayer is something for certain times and places . . . and that praying without ceasing is probably not practical for those of us who do not live in religious communities.

S. Jean-Marie, however, is telling unequivocally that this is a wrong idea; that God is with us always, and everywhere . . . and that we can – and therefore should – pray to Him in every circumstance and moment of our lives; so that by doing this we may come to live better, if not actually well, and thus may die well and attain to God’s grace and glory.

And if you’re saying ‘it’s alright him saying this; but I bet he doesn’t do it’ : well, you’re right – I know it in theory, but fail to do it in practice half as often as I should . . . but I keep trying, which is all I can do, that I may eventually live well.

I hope and pray that you will try too, and thereby gain the power to live well, and so die well; so that one day, through God’s infinite love and grace, we may all happily meet – and be greeted by S. Jean-Marie – in Heaven.

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