“In truth, what is required in order to pray, and consequently to persevere in the grace of God during our whole lives, till the hour of death, and thus arrive at the blessed port of salvation?
Taking ourselves for what we really are
All that is required is to take ourselves for what we really are, that is, for poor beggars, and to conduct ourselves as such at God’s gates, our lips open in prayer, our hands stretched out towards His mercy, crying out unceasingly, imploring the aid of Heaven: ‘My Jesus, mercy! Do not permit that I should have the misfortune to separate myself from You.’ ‘Lord, assist me!’ ‘My God, help me!’ Here is the favourite prayer of the Fathers of the desert, which they recited constantly: ‘O God, come to my aid! Hasten, Lord, hasten to succour me! If You delay, I shall succumb, and shall be lost.’ We should do the same in our temptations. To act otherwise is our ruin.
O God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.
But, while addressing ourselves to the Lord, we should remember to recommend ourselves also to the dispenser of graces, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Undoubtedly, it is God alone Who grants us graces, but it is through Mary’s hands that He gives them to us. ‘Let us seek for grace,’ says Saint Bernard, ‘and let us seek it through Mary,’ for her petitions to God are always successful; so that if the Blessed Virgin intercedes in our favour we may be satisfied that we shall be heard.”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905