There is nothing more powerful in heaven or on earth than prayer, and so there is nothing more necessary than prayer.
This simple truth can stand for the core conviction of St. Alphonsus’ spiritual wisdom. In an age wracked by the pessimism and despair of both the Protestant and the Jansenist heretics, St. Alphonsus proclaimed the mercy and the love of God in conjunction with the omnipotence of prayer. Against the double predestination which was so ruthlessly formulated by Calvin, St. Alphonsus insisted that the grace of prayer is given to all men and that, by prayer, every other grace (including the grace of salvation itself) is easily secured.
Against the Jansenists and rigorists of his day, St. Alphonsus proclaimed that even the most difficult commandments are easily fulfilled, if only we ask God for the grace through prayer. All who fall into sin, fall simply because they did not pray. Whereas, all who persevere in grace, persevere not because of their own strength, but on account of the power of prayer.
How important St. Alphonsus’ doctrine is in our own day! We too begin to doubt the necessity and the power of prayer. How easy it is for us to forget to pray or to think that prayer is merely something “sentimental”. Without daily prayer, we will surely be damned. But with prayer, our salvation is secured.