the catechetical instructions by Saint John Mary Vianney, priest
The glorious duty of man: to
pray and to love
y little children, reflect on
these words: the Christians treasure is not on earth but in heaven.
Our thoughts, then, ought to be directed to where our treasure is. This is
the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that
is where a mans happiness lies.
is nothing else but union with God. When one has a heart that is pure and
united with God, he is given a kind of serenity and sweetness that makes
him ecstatic, a light that surrounds him with marvelous brightness. In this
intimate union, God and the soul are fused together like two bits of wax
that no one can ever pull apart. This union of God with a tiny creature is
a lovely thing. It is a happiness beyond understanding.
We had become unworthy to pray,
but God in his goodness allowed us to speak with him. Our prayer is incense
that gives him the greatest pleasure.
My little children, your hearts
are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God.
Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise
comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey
that flows into the soul and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly,
sorrows disappear like snow before the
sun. . . .
Some men immerse themselves as
deeply in prayer as fish in water, because they give themselves totally to
God. There is no division in their hearts. O, how I love these noble souls!
Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette used to see our Lord and talk to
him just as we talk to one another.
How unlike them we are! How often
we come to church with no idea of what to do or what to ask for. And yet,
whenever we go to any human being, we know well enough why we go. And still
worse, there are some who seem to speak to the good God like this: I
will only say a couple of things to you, and then I will be rid of you.
I often think that when we come to adore the Lord, we would receive everything
we ask for, if we would ask with living faith and with a pure
Saint John Mary Vianney,
Office of Readings, August 4