St. Alphonsus of Liguori…Patron of Vocations

Today is the feast day of St. Alphonsus Liguori.  A prodigy child, St. Alphonsus obtained degrees in canon and civil law and began a highly successful lawy career in Naples.  But the more St. Alphonsus became successful in the world, the more disillusioned he became with it.  Eventually, he refused an arranged marriage and, after a lengthy discernment period, and despite resistance from his family, gave up his successful law practice to become a priest.

St. Alphonsus was known for his practical approach to the spiritual life and helped bring reform to the offices of pastors and confessors.  At the time, there was a trend of being overly ornate and complicated in preaching and being overly harsh in the confessional.  St. Alphonsus emphasized simplicity in preaching the Gospel and encouraged priests to emphasize the joy and mercy found in the confessional.  Though he resisted, he was eventually ordained a bishop and founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, or Redemptorists.  St. Alphonsus suffered greatly as well, especially in his later years.  Arthritis eventually made it nearly impossible for him to lift his head off his chest and he suffered greatly from scruples. 

St. Alphonsus Liguori is a doctor of the Church and patron of theologians, confessors, vocations, and those who suffer from arthritis and scruples.  Today, in his general audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke highly of St. Alphonsus’ emphasis on prayer.

From this National Catholic Register article, “It is ‘only through prayer,’ said the Pope, that we can accept the grace of Christ, ‘which, by illuminating us in every situation, helps us discern the truth, and, by fortifying us, renders our will capable of implementing what we know to be good.'”

Today, let’s take a few moments and reflect on the life of this saint who had everything from the world’s standpoint, but “sold all he had” for the priceless pearl he found in God.  So, what is it in life that is truly necessary?  Where can we simplify?  What have we been letting slide that we need God’s grace and the gift of fortitude to resist evil and do what is good?  Is there something God is calling you to do (or let go), but you’re resisting?

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.

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