St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor Of The Church, 1696 – 1787

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori is one of the greatest saints the Holy Catholic Church has.  He took a fourth vow to never be idle.  Besides being bishop, missionary and founder of the Redemptorist Order, he wrote a great deal on Catholic moral theology.  His feast day in the Latin Mass Calendar is August 2.

0801alphonsuscross (1)But his best know works, that are still read all over the world, are: “The Glories of Mary”, “The Selva”,  “The True Spouse of Christ“,  “The Great Means of Prayer”,  “The Way of Salvation”,  “Opera Dogmatica, or History of the Council of Trent“, and “Sermons for all the Sundays in the Year”  For his monumental literary works, he is one of the Doctors of the Church.

“Eight times during his long life, without counting his last sickness, the Saint received the sacrament of the dying, but the worst of all his illnesses was a terrible attack of rheumatic fever during his episcopate, an attack which lasted from May, 1768, to June, 1769, and left him paralyzed to the end of his days. It was this which gave St. Alphonsus the bent head which we notice in the portraits of him. So bent was it in the beginning, that the pressure of his chin produced a dangerous wound in the chest. Although the doctors succeeded in straightening the neck a little, the Saint for the rest of his life had to drink at meals through a tube. He could never have said Mass again had not an Augustinian prior shown him how to support himself on a chair so that with the assistance of an acolyte he could raise the chalice to his lips.”  

Liguori-reliquia“He had a pleasant smile, and his conversation was very agreeable, yet he had great dignity of manner. He was a born leader of men. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady was extraordinary. He had a tender charity towards all who were in trouble; he would go to any length to try to save a vocation; he would expose himself to death to prevent sin.”  1913 Catholic Encyclopedia  

He is said to have had a second conversion, of turning further away from worldliness, because he already was already not committing serious sin.  This began his even deeper self-donation to God.

He was a man with strong passions and tremendous energy.  But from his childhood, he had already learned to keep his passions under control.  From and early age on he seemed to have learned how to be dead to insults or injures which were directed at him.  But when it came to cruelty or of injustice against others, or showing dishonour to God, he showed a prophet’s indignation, even at an old age.  

800px-Carlow_Cathedral_St_Alphonsus_kneeling_before_the_Most_Holy_Sacrament_2009_09_03Throughout his life, his driving-power was his generous self-sacrifice and ardent love for God. He put his natural passions and gifts at the service of God.  “Strong wills and strong passions are hard to tame, but when they are tamed, they are the raw material of sanctity.”

We traditional Catholics have a great friend in St. Alphonsus.  First in all his great traditional Catholic books he wrote.  And then his great traditional morals and strong condemnation of sin.  His words and books are there to encourage us to be like him.  

He would never be politically correct and for this won many personal enemies.  He could never be dishonest, only truthful.  Once when a bad monsignor was appointed Archbishop of Naples, he would not write to congratulate him because he did not want to support him or be dishonest.  Jesus despised hypocrites.  

“But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter.  Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you devour the houses of widows, praying long prayers. For this you shall receive the greater judgment. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves.”  Matthew 23:13 – 15.

Virgin Mary_MASTER of the Bambino VispoHere are 10 quotes to encourage us to be traditional Catholics like St. Alphonsus.

1. “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.”

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.”  (I would say other than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.)

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. “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.”

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 veil, 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.”

latinWe are so so blessed to have traditional Catholic saints words to encourage us in our difficult task of calling the Church to repent, reform and become renewed in Christ Our King.