On August 1, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori. St. Alphonsus is the founder of the Religious Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists); he is the patron saint of confessors, moral theologians, and those who suffer from arthritis—a condition that caused him great pain and left him confined to a wheelchair later in life.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
“When you are afflicted with sickness, persecution, temptation, or any other trouble, turn at once to God and ask His help. It is enough for you to lay your affliction before Him. . . . He will not fail to comfort you or to give you strength to suffer the trial with patience.”
DAILY NOVENA PRAYER:
Glorious St Alphonsus, loving Father of the poor and sick, all your life you devoted yourself, with a heroic charity, to lighten their spiritual and bodily miseries. Full of confidence in your tender pity for the sick, since you yourself patiently borne the cross of illness, I come to you for help in my present need… (Mention your request here…) Loving father of the suffering, St Alphonsus, look with compassion upon me in my suffering. Ask God to give me good health. If it is not God’s will, then give me the strength to bear my cross patiently and to offer my sufferings with my crucified Savior and his Mother of Sorrows, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, in reparation for my sins and those of others, for the needs of this troubled world, and the Holy Souls in purgatory. Amen.
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY – PART 8
St. Alphonsus as a moral theologian occupies the golden mean between the schools tending either to laxity or to rigour which divided the theological world of his time. When he was preparing for the priesthood in Naples, his masters were of the rigid school, for though the center of Jansenistic disturbance was in northern Europe, no shore was so remote as not to feel the ripple of its waves. When the Saint began to hear confessions, however, he soon saw the harm done by rigorism, and for the rest of his life he inclined more to the mild school of the Jesuit theologians, whom he calls “the masters of morals”. St. Alphonsus, however, did not in all things follow their teaching, especially on one point much debated in the schools; namely, whether we may in practice follow an opinion which denies a moral obligation, when the opinion which affirms a moral obligation seems to us to be altogether more probable. This is the great question of “Probabilism”. St. Alphonsus, after publishing anonymously (in 1749 and 1755) two treatises advocating the right to follow the less probable opinion, in the end decided against that lawfulness, and in case of doubt only allowed freedom from obligation where the opinions for and against the law were equal or nearly equal. He called his system Equiprobabilism. It is true that theologians even of the broadest school are agreed that, when an opinion in favour of the law is so much more probable as to amount practically to moral certainty, the less probable opinion cannot be followed, and some have supposed that St. Alphonsus meant no more than this by his terminology. According to this view he chose a different formula from the Jesuit writers, partly because he thought his own terms more exact, and, partly to save his teaching and his congregation as far as possible from the State persecution which after 1764 had already fallen so heavily on the Society of Jesus, and in 1773 was formally to suppress it. It is a matter for friendly controversy, but it seems there was a real difference, though not as great in practice as is supposed, between the Saint’s later teaching and that current in the Society. Alphonsus was a lawyer, and as a lawyer, he attached much importance to the weight of evidence. In a civil action a serious preponderance of evidence gives one side the case. If civil courts could not decide against a defendant on greater probability, but had to wait, as a criminal court must wait, for moral certainty, many actions would never be decided at all. St. Alphonsus likened the conflict between law and liberty to a civil action in which the law has the onus probandi, although greater probabilities give it a verdict. Pure probabilism likens it to a criminal trial, in which the jury must find in favour of liberty (the prisoner at the bar) if any single reasonable doubt whatever remain in its favour. Furthermore, St. Alphonsus was a great theologian, and so attached much weight to intrinsic probability. He was not afraid of making up his mind. “I follow my conscience”, he wrote in 1764, “and when reason persuades me I make little account of moralists.” To follow an opinion in favour of liberty without weighing it, merely because it is held by someone else, would have seemed to Alphonsus an abdication of the judicial office with which as a confessor he was invested. Still it must in fairness be admitted that all priests are not great theologians able to estimate intrinsic probability at its true worth, and the Church herself might be held to have conceded something to pure probabilism by the unprecedented honours she paid to the Saint in her Decree of 22 July, 1831, which allows confessors to follow any of St. Alphonsus’s own opinions without weighing the reasons on which they were based…. (To be continued)
- (Culled from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia)
(From the Redemptorists Media)
Glorious St. Alphonsus, bishop and doctor of the Church, devoted servant of our Lord and loving child of Mary, I invoke you as a saint in heaven. I give myself to your protection that you may always be my protector and my guide in the way of holiness and salvation. Aid me in observing the duties of my state of life. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love of the interior life after your own example. Great lover of the Blessed Sacrament and the Passion of Jesus Christ, teach me to love Holy Mass and Holy Communion as the source of grace and holiness. Give me a tender devotion to the Passion of my Redeemer.
Promoter of the truth of Christ, through your preaching and writing, give me a greater knowledge and appreciation of the divine truths. Gentle father of the poor and sinners, help me to imitate your charity toward others in word and deed. Consoler of the suffering, help me to bear my daily cross patiently in imitation of your own patience in your long and painful illness and to resign myself to the will of God. Good Shepherd of the flock of Christ, obtain for me the grace of being a true child of Holy Mother Church.
St. Alphonsus, I humbly implore your powerful intercession for obtaining from the heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I recommend to you, in particular, this favor: (mention your request). I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God’s holy will, my petition will be granted through your intercession for me at the throne of God. St. Alphonsus, pray for me and for those I love. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, do not abandon us in our needs. May we experience the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen.
Heavenly Father, You continually build up Your Church by the lives of Your saints. Give us grace to follow St. Alphonsus in his loving concern for the salvation of people and so come to share his reward in heaven. Walking in the footsteps of this devoted servant of Yours, may we be consumed with zeal for souls and attain the reward he enjoys in Your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be…
Through the intercession of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, may Almighty God bless you + the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Compiled by Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?
Saint Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us!