by Father Michael Mueller, C.Ss.R.
What a paradigm-shifter! Even for someone as myself, a cradle-Catholic, raised in what would be deemed a pious, traditional-Catholic family, with prayer being an intimate part of our lives for as long as can be remembered, this book radically changed my outlook on prayer!
I received this book as a gift with my True Restoration membership some years ago (early adoption has its benefits!) and I admit that I simply set it aside given I had numerous books in my “To Read Soon” list, and upon first glance it didn't grab me as a “must-read” book worthy of jumping the queue. Then a friend of mine, who also received this as her gift with her TR membership asked me about the author, and I must make another admission, this time about my ignorance. It didn't click with me that this was the same author of another excellent book, which has been in my home-library for decades, The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure - but I figured if TR is promoting this book by sending out as a gift, then it must be worthwhile, so I determined to find out about the author and also read the book in question.
Right from the Introduction it grabbed my attention: simple truths such as, “Those with whom we communicate influence us” - and thus why we should commune as often as possible with God, Himself! Have you ever considered what an incredible gift it is that God has made it even possible that we can communicate with Him, and even allows us to do so? Moreover, we should not view such communication (that is, prayer) as some sort of burdensome duty because in reality it is an amazing and truly awesome privilege! And God has made it so easy and accessible to anyone (with the use of reason), to do so at any and every given moment; we simply need to use our will to make an act of thought – in the privacy of our own minds – and we can connect immediately to the Almighty, “He Who Is”– and Our Divine Creator is always “there” to listen to His children when we choose to talk with Him.
Moving on to the first chapter (presumably you have just made a quick prayer of Thanksgiving to God for this incredible gift of “prayer” that He has so lovingly condescended to give us), Necessity of Prayer In General also firmly grabs the reader's attention including the likes of: “The power and mercy of God are indeed solid motives for hope, but the most solid is God's fidelity to His promises. God has promised, through the merits of Christ, to save us, and give us the graces necessary for salvation...But this infallible promise of God will avail us nothing unless we pray.”
That consoling thought is developed in the next chapter, Necessity of Prayer for Sinners, in reference to the Gospel promises,“Call on me, and I will hear you”; “Ask, and you shall receive” (St. John 16:23); “Whatsoever you ask, you shall receive.” (St. Matt. 21:22) “And lest anyone should suppose that this promise applied only to the just. I have added purposely: 'Everyone who asks shall receive.'” (St. Matt. 7:7) “Everyone, without exception, whether he be a just man or sinner, shall receive what he asks of Me, but ask he must.” Fr. Mueller then develops this with something apparently shocking: “Prayer, therefore, is a universal means by which every single grace necessary to bring us infallibly to eternal life may be obtained with infallible certainty, since the Son of God cannot be a liar. In this respect it differs from the Sacraments, from penitential works and other means which God has given us in order to obtain eternal life...to none of these, nor to all put together, without prayer, has God promised all the graces necessary for eternal life. Prayer is the only means to which He has promised all the efficacious helps and graces necessary for our salvation.”
At this point, all of us sinners are no doubt thinking, this sounds too good to be true, we just need to pray for eternal salvation and we are guaranteed it on God's Sacred Word! We should take this very deeply to heart and liberate ourselves from the crippling attitudes that make many of us think (wrongly) that we can never be saints and that we must content ourselves with just plodding along in mediocrity. No, we must not be content to stop there because the next chapter, On the Necessity of Prayer for the Just, which is loaded with critical quotes from various saints and other illustrious Catholic-thinkers over the centuries, stresses the need to persevere with prayer, viz. St Augustine's teaching: “We must pray for it [God's grace] every day, because even the just are every day in danger of losing it.” Then in a later chapter, On the Efficacy of the Prayers of the Just we will be motivated to not remain in the “sinners” or “mediocre” categories because, similarly jam-packed with quotes and historical examples, we are shown that the prayers of the just are considerably more powerful than those of others. “God” says Cornelius a Lapide, “values one just man more than a thousand sinners, than Heaven and earth” and “Nay,” says St. Augustine, “God esteems one eminently just man more than a thousand ordinary men.” This great saint expands thus, “The prayer of the just man is a key to heaven; let his prayer ascend to Heaven, and God's mercy will descend on earth.” (Serm. 226, de Tempore).
When has the earth been in such dire need for God's mercy than now; during the darkness and unspeakable putrefaction of this Great Apostasy? The good news is that even before reading this life-changing and inspirational book, we can use some basic logic to deduce that given God guarantees to answer all our prayers that are conducive to our salvation, that we can start praying right now to become holy, so we can soon be numbered among those “just” men whose prayers are so powerful to move God.
There is a great deal more to be learned from this book, including topics such as, “Conditions and Qualities of Prayer” and “The Methods of Conversing Continually and Familiarly with God” just to name a couple. If you already have a copy, please read it. If you want to help your family and friends – or help anyone at all with whom you have association – give them their own copy of this book; it will not only be attitude-transforming but it may very well be the instrument that God intends to use for their salvation! The best gift of all!
This book retails elsewhere starting at $10.95 but True Restoration Members are being offered it for the astonishing TR Members' price of only $3.50. That is less than the average little booklet costs – and this is no mere booklet; it is a substantial, 226 page, powerfully-moving book – so I highly recommend members take advantage while the offer is available and buy this in bulk for all your contacts. Not only would this be a true and perfect gift, worthy of a true friend (of much more lasting benefit than most other gifts), it would be a true act of charity to obtain copies to pass around at churches, prayer-groups and wherever else one can do an apostolic work for the Restoration.