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Outline of Ch. 1 Mental Prayer is Morally Necessary for Salvation
- It Enlightens the Mind
-without mental prayer, the soul is without light: the importance of eternal salvation
-“The loss of so many souls arises from the neglect of considering the great affair of our salvation, and what we must do in order to be saved.”
-mental prayer gives us the self knowledge of our imperfections
From “The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection” by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri
Chapter 1. Mental Prayer is
Morally Necessary for Salvation
1. IT ENLIGHTENS THE MIND
In the first place, without mental prayer the soul is without light. They, says St. Augustine, who keep their eyes shut cannot see the way to their country. The eternal truths are all spiritual things that are seen, not with eyes of the body, but with the eyes of the mind; that is, by reflection and consideration. Now, they who do not make mental prayer do not see these truths, neither do they see the importance of eternal salvation, and the means which they can adopt in order to obtain it.
The loss of so many souls arises from the neglect of considering the great affair of our salvation, and what we must do in order to be saved. “With desolation,” says the prophet Jeremias, “is all the land made desolate: because there is none that considereth in the heart” (Jer 12:2). On the other hand, the Lord says that he who keeps before his eyes the truths of faith ——that is, death, judgment, and the happy or unhappy eternity that awaits us——shall never fall into sin. “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin” (Sirach 7:36).
St. Bonaventure also says that mental prayer is, as it were, a mirror, in which we see all the stains of the soul. In a letter to the Bishop of Osma, St. Teresa says, “Although it appears to us that we have no imperfections, still when God opens the eyes of the soul, as He usually does in prayer, our imperfections are then clearly seen.”