Moral theologian and founder of the Redemptionists
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787) was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian, and founder of the Redemptorists, an influential religious congregation. He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1871.
Kingdom of Naples
St. Alphonsus was born of noble parents, near Naples, in 1696. His spiritual training was entrusted to the Fathers of the Oratory in that city, and from his boyhood Alphonsus was known as a most devout Brother of the Little Oratory. At the early age of sixteen he was made doctor in law, and he threw himself into this career with ardor and success. A mistake, by which he lost an important cause, showed him the vanity of human fame, and determined him to labor only for the glory of God. He entered the priesthood, devoting himself to the most neglected souls; and to carry on this work he founded later the missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. At the age of sixty-six he became Bishop of St. Agatha, and undertook the reform of his diocese with the zeal of a Saint. He made a vow never to lose time, and, though his number of books, filled with such science, unction, and wisdom that he has been declared one of the Doctors of the Church. St. Alphonsus wrote his first book at the age of forty-nine, and in his eighty-third year had published about sixty volumes, when his director forbade him to write more. Very many of these books were written in the half-hours snatched from his labors as missionary, religious superior, and Bishop, or in the midst of continual bodily and mental sufferings. With his left hand he would hold a piece of marble against his aching head while his right hand wrote. Yet he counted no time wasted which was spent in charity. He did not refuse to hold a long correspondence with a simple soldier who asked his advice, or to play the harpsichord while he taught his novices to sing spiritual canticles. He lived in evil times, and met with many persecutions and disappointments. For his last seven years he was prevented by constant sickness from offering the Adorable Sacrifice; but he received Holy Communion daily, and his love for Jesus Christ and his trust in Mary's prayers sustained him to the end. He died in 1787, in his ninety-first year.
[From Butler's Lives]
Works by St. Alphonsus
Written in 1755, Uniformity with God's Will is a wonderful little treatise on the true love of God. Saint Alphonsus de Liguori writes to encourage believers to unify their wills with that of God's, so that they may love God perfectly: "the more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God." To choose otherwise--i.e. to choose not to unify one's will with God's--is "a kind of idolatry." These seven short chapters, not simply prone to abstract speculation, explore concretely how to make one's own will uniform with God's through the hardships of this life. Further, the book discusses the fruit of such a union with God's will: happiness. De Liguori concludes by noting how, in all things, Christians must remain steadfast in their union with God's will. For in so doing, God will "press us to his heart." Challenging and encouraging, Uniformity with God's Will has the power to remind us of what true love of God really is.
“The more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God,” St. Alphonsus wrote in 1755. This statement encapsulates the subject matter of his devotional treatise: the true love of God, and how believers can experience that love through growing closer to their creator. In seven short chapters, St. Alphonsus explores how people can make God’s perfect desires their own desires, even in times of hardship or persecution. At the same time, the author challenges his readers to serve God unfalteringly. Both heartening and inspiring, Uniformità alla Volontà di Dio (Uniformity with God’s Will) calls readers to love and serve God with their whole heart. This version is the original one, written in Italian.
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