Friday, August 17, 2012

How To Speak and Listen to God

(Excuse the laundry clip.
Cover wouldn't close.) 
          St. Alphonsus Liguori obviously thought there's more to the spiritual life than rote prayers because he wrote a booklet entitled “How to Converse With God.”   Below are 7 wonderful tips from his hand and some of my comments in parentheses because I can’t help myself.  (If you don’t like the commentary and this free summarized bullet-point style version, the book is only $3.00 from tanbooks):

 1.  “Assuredly, loving souls, you should go to God with all humility and respect… yet you should practice the greatest possible love and confidence in treating with him.  Far from despising our confidence in Him, He rejoices that we have it –confidence and familiarity and affection alike that which little children show toward their mothers.”

 (My four-year-old once told me in all innocence and honesty:  “Mama, your hair looks like the bars of a dungeon and Dad and the baby are trapped behind it.”  I laughed all the way to the beauty salon.  Now that I think about it, God probably gets tickled by innocent and honest prayers that aren’t meant show irreverence and I’m guessing, our ‘funny’ prayers must get a powerful reaction.  Besides, why bother censoring our prayers when He knows our thoughts anyway?)

2.   “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 before his master…He finds 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 speaking to Him.”

              (St. Teresa of Avila joked with God after she fell of a cart and broke her leg in pursuit of Jesus’ orders:  “Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!”  We all know she heard His voice, too.)

3.    “Our God delights in stooping down to converse with us, and He rejoices when we make known to Him or most trivial everyday affairs….He will not fail to answer you and even to speak with you Himself.  Not that He will make audible sounds strike your ears, but He will answer in words that you will clearly understand in your heart… He will speak to you with those inspirations, those interior lights, those manifestations of His goodness, those gentle knockings at the door of your heart, those pledges of pardon, those feelings of peace, that hope of heaven, that interior joy, the delightful sweetness of His grace, the loving union and intimate contact with Him: in a word, He will speak to you with those words of love which are readily understood by the souls whom He loves and who seek nothing but Him.”

4.  “He may speak to you by His inspirations…sometimes, He even speaks to you in your sleep and makes His voice sound in your ears, that you may put His wishes into execution when you awake.  I will speak to him in a dream Num 12:6."

 (Long before I met my husband, I dreamed an angel gave me the name of my first daughter.   My husband loved the name even before he met me, so that was the easiest argument-free-name-picking procedure we’ve ever had. So happily, I count myself among the ranks of Joseph the Dreamer, Jacob, St. Joseph, Samuel the Prophet,  and Pope Innocent III who heard God’s voice in their dreams.)

5.  “When you receive some pleasant news, go at once to God and tell Him of your joy; praise and thank Him for it.” 

(Thank you God for St. Alphonsus and this book!)

6.  “When you are troubled by any sort of doubt, whether it caused by yourself or by others, act as do faithful friends who take counsel from each other abut any matters that presents itself. Never fail to give God a proof of your confidence by asking His advice and praying to Him to enlighten you to resolve on what will be to His good pleasure.” 

(God always answers and sometimes even the strangest places.  My friend once was in a predicament and she asked God if she should take matters forcibly in her own hands.  The answer was printed on a truck’s bumper sticker, “God will make a way.”  He did.)

7.  “Loving souls, never forget to sigh often for Heaven, while saying to your God that it seems as if a thousand years separate you from the day on which you will see and love Him face to face.” 

Thank you for hosting. +AMDG


mary333 said...

Your "commentary" is priceless, Anabelle, and I smiled my way through it. How 'bout I send you three dollars and two cents?

(No, I'm not insinuating that your comments are only worth two cents - I'm saying that your "two cents" made me laugh! Thank you!)

Children are too funny! The hair comment cracked me up!

waiting said...

thanks for the great quotes! i've always loved this saint, but didn't know much of what he said about prayer! very helpful :)

Anabelle Hazard said...

LOL Mary. Let's call it even cause I always like reading your 2 cents on my comments box.

Thank you waiting.