Wednesday, August 1, 2012

St. Alphonsus Liguori

Today’s saint was born in Italy, studied law at the University of Naples, and graduated when he was only sixteen with degrees in both civil and Church law. In 1723 he set aside his successful law practice and began to study theology. He was ordained in 1726 and quickly became known as a very practical preacher and compassionate confessor. In 1732 he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) and was named a bishop in 1762. Toward the end of his life he suffered from physical ailments and from rejection within his order. He is the patron saint of moral theologians, confessors, and those who suffer from arthritis.

As Apostles of Prayer, we know that our prayers are not limited to those we offer in church or in a quiet place at home. We offer our entire day to God that his will may be done and his Kingdom come. We offer our prayers and activities for the Holy Father’s monthly intentions. Keeping that in mind, let us renew our offering as we reflect on something St. Alphonsus wrote:

To pray, it is not necessary always to be on bended knee, or in church, or even in some quiet corner at home, though it is advisable when possible to adopt a reverent attitude in some place where you are not exposed to distractions. You can pray while at work, you can pray while walking the street in any place, under all circumstances, by raising your mind to God, and thinking of the Passion of Christ, or any other pious subject. Whenever you feel disturbed by trials or adversities, consider them as coming from God. Say with love and humility, “God wills it thus, “ and be at peace. Direct all your thoughts and prayers to this end: that God may accomplish His Adorable Will in your regard.

Here are some quotes from this great moral theologian: 

1. "Our Savior says, if you have not received the graces that you desire, do not complain to me, but blame yourself, because you have neglected to seek them from me."

2. "Realize that you may gain more in a quarter of an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament than in all other practices of the day."

3. "It is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity".

4. "I Love Jesus Christ and that is why I am on fire with the desire to give Him souls, first of all my own, and then an incalculable number of others."

5. "He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts God can do all things."

6. "If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to His divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us. Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more. Uniformity means that we make one will of God's will and our will. In this way we will only what God wills. God's will alone is our will. "

7. "The sovereigns of the earth do not always grant audience readily; on the contrary, the King of Heaven, hidden under the eucharistic veils, is ready to receive anyone…"

8. "If you pray, you are positive of saving your soul. If you do not pray, you are just as positive of losing your soul. "

9. “Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears— of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him.”

10. The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone. 

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