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Dear Father Angelo,

First of all, I would like to thank you for the dedication you have for this website.

I would like to ask you a first question: personally, I really like to stay “face to face” with God and talk to Him; am I doing wrong if I do so, omitting the traditional prayers? I think this is something important. Sometimes, it happens that I prefer this to the “normal” prayers… am I wrong, or should I go on this way? Or would it be better to give the same importance to both things? In fact, on one hand I think that silence allows me to concentrate better (otherwise, I also have to concentrate on thinking/saying the words).

Besides, I must also ask your opinion on something that happens to me every day: when I am playing (generally, it doesn’t matter if I am playing a sport or a game) and I feel the need of praying, I stop for one moment and I pray. But this happens often and, after a few times, I almost don’t have the willingness to pray anymore… so, on one hand I consider this as negative, but on the other hand, positive because it can well remind me of the Lord. Would it be enough also a quick thought (again to put everything back in equilibrium)? In addition, in the last period, I don’t always understand which relationship I should have with Maria… I know that I am not supposed  to consider Her a goddess, but how? Besides, is it correct to pray Her or would it be better to pray only to God?

One more thing: recently a real fear for Hell grew in me. I am afraid of dying in a moment when I am not in the divine Grace. They suggested to me to say an Act of Contrition every evening… is this correct? Is there anything else that I should do to ensure myself a place in Heaven?

Many thanks for the time you will dedicate to me, I bless you and I gladly remind you to the Lord.

Luca O.

The Priest’s answer

Dear Luca,

1. The face-to-face dialogue with God is fine. Indeed, it is the typical Christian prayer. As a matter of fact, the Christian prayer is different from the prayers of the other people, because God talks to us and we reply to Him.

In other religions, as in the ancient Pagans, it was just the Man who could speak and God was listening, if he was not lost in other thoughts.

2. Hence, the dialogue is great, as long as it is not a monologue, that means as long as it’s not only you the one who talks, because in that case you would be praying as the ancient Pagans.

In order to make it a dialogue, you need to tune in and listen.

Of course, God talks to us through our consciousness. But he mainly talks to us by means of the Holy Bible.

If you do so, you will soon realize that His words are more precious than yours, because His  are words that communicate eternal life and, thus, bring God in your life.

3.Therefore, when you talk face-to-face with God, always give priority to Him. First, listen to His words, opening the Gospel or the Holy Bible. Then, you will talk to Him.

If you start, you will never be able to stay without this dialogue, that will turn out to be the most precious and the most enriching in your life.

If you pay attention, you will realize that also when you say the “Our Father”, the Lord speaks to you and you reply to Him praying.

4. Moving to your second question: the constant elevation of your thought to God, also before playing, is a very good thing, because it helps to make everything as if it is a praise for the Creator.  Sometimes, a short prayer is enough.

In the letter to Proba, St. Augustine mentions the short prayers of the Egyptian monks, as follows: “They have very frequent prayers, but these very brief, and, as it were, sudden and ejaculatory, lest the wakeful and aroused attention which is indispensable in prayer should by protracted exercises vanish or lose its keenness.” (Letter to Proba, X,20).

These invocations that support the daily life through its moments of joy and affliction are often a habit of both Saints and humble Christians.

They can be done with sentences from the Scripture, the Psalms, or the Gospel, as for example: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38), “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

5. Regarding the devotion to Mary, think about this: Jesus gave her to you as a mother so that She can assist you at any moment.

Try to entrust yourself to Her.

You will suddenly experience Her maternal help and you will start to grow fond of Her. You will feel Her as one of the most precious gifts that God gave you. (cf. Johannes 19:27).

In particular, ask the Virgin Mary to give you a greater  love for God and to take you to Him, only God and Source of all good.

6. You tell me that you are afraid of Hell.

If you live in God’s grace, and this is the best thing in this world, the fear will go away by itself.

If you try to be close to God and grow in Christ, the only fear you will have is, indeed, losing this friendship.

In the meantime, you are doing well if you end your day with the great Act of Contrition. This is always praiseworthy.

I wish you all good in Christ, I remind Him of you in my prayers and I bless you.

Father Angelo

Translated by Jolanda Beraldi

Revised by Debora Celupica