Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Feastday of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Today was the feastday of Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696 - 1787), founder of the Redemptorists, a large religious order with over six thousands priests and brothers. He is also associated with the founding of the Redemptoristines.

Saint Louis is home to Redemptorists of the Denver Province. They staff Saint Alphonsus Liguori church in Saint Louis, Missouri, often called the "Rock Church", located at 1118 North Grand Avenue at Cook, just north of Saint Louis University. They also assist at Saint Francis Xavier Church, the Jesuit church at the university. The Redemptorists have often been closely associated with the Jesuits, and carried on their work during the Suppression. The Redemptorists also locally run Liguori Publications, in the northern Jefferson County town of Liguori, Missouri, located about 28 highway miles southwest of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri. Redemptoristine Nuns have a community in Liguori.

He is one of the thirty-three Doctors of the Church, and was the very prolific author of one hundred and eleven books. Click to read Uniformity with God's Will. Selected quotes from this:
Who knows? Perhaps if God had given us greater talent, better health, a more personable appearance, we might have lost our souls! Great talent and knowledge have caused many to be puffed up with the idea of their own importance and, in their pride, they have despised others...."But one thing is necessary," and it is not beauty, not health, not talent. It is the salvation of our immortal souls.

Alphonsus the Great, King of Aragon, being asked one day whom he considered the happiest person in the world, answered: "He who abandons himself to the will of God and accepts all things, prosperous and adverse, as coming from his hands.''

"Who are you anyway?"
"I am a king."
"And where is your kingdom?"
"In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God."

Let us not lament if we suffer from some natural defect of body or mind; from poor memory, slowness of understanding, little ability, lameness or general bad health. What claim have we, or what obligation is God under, to give us a more brilliant mind or a more robust body? Who is ever offered a gift and then lays down the conditions upon which he will accept it? Let us thank God for what, in his pure goodness, he has given us and let us be content too with the manner in which he has given it to us.

Sickness is the acid test of spirituality, because it discloses whether our virtue is real or sham. If the soul is not agitated, does not break out in lamentations, is not feverishly restless in seeking a cure, but instead is submissive to the doctors and to superiors, is serene and tranquil, completely resigned to God's will, it is a sign that soul is well-grounded in virtue.

The time of spiritual desolation is also a time for being resigned. When a soul begins to cultivate the spiritual life, God usually showers his consolations upon her to wean her away from the world; but when he sees her making solid progress, he withdraws his hand to test her and to see if she will love and serve him without the reward of sensible consolations.

Above all, let us bend all our energies to serve God in the way he wishes. This remark is made so that we may avoid the mistake of him who wastes his time in idle day-dreaming. Such a one says, "If I were to become a hermit, I would become a saint" or "If I were to enter a monastery, I would practice penance" or "If I were to go away from here, leaving friends and companions, I would devote long hours to prayer." If, If, If—all these ifs! In the meantime such a person goes from bad to worse.

A child prodigy, Saint Alphonsus received at age sixteen a double doctorate in canon and civil law. He had a successful career as a lawyer, founding his own firm at age 21, before entering the priesthood at age 29. He wrote these Twelve Commandments for Lawyers:
1. One must never accept unjust cases because they are bad for one's conscience and one's dignity.

2. One must never defend a case with illicit and unjust means.

3. One must not load one's client with unnecessary expenses. A lawyer has the obligation to issue a refund if this has been the case.

4. One must deal with a client's case with the same care with which one deals with one's own.

5. One must study the files in order to draw valid arguments for the defense of the case.

6. The delays and carelessness of lawyers can be damaging to their clients, and the latter must be compensated lest justice is sinned against.

7. A lawyer must implore God for help in his defense, because God is the first protector of justice.

8. A lawyer who accepts many cases which are beyond his ability, his strength, and his time (which will often be lacking for the preparation of the defense) is not to be praised.

9. Justice and honesty are the inseparable companions of Catholic lawyers; in fact they must always be treasured like the apple of their eye.

10. A lawyer who loses a case through negligence must take upon himself the compensation of his client for damages.

11. In defending a case one must be truthful, sincere, respectful, and rational.

12. Finally, the requisites for a lawyer are knowledge, diligence, truth, faithfulness, and justice.
Perhaps this could be part of an examination of conscience for practicing lawyers. Today, what is considered 'ethical' by worldly standards is often objectively immoral.

1 comment:

  1. I've read that Saint Alphonsus Liguori was a big influence on Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. That seems evident in some of the quotes, especially the "if, if, if" quote, which tells us that we need to pursue holiness in the here an now.