Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor: Brief Bio, Favorite Quotes, and a Prayer
Alphonsus Liguori was born in Naples, Italy, in 1696 to noble parents. He was well-educated and excelled in his studies. At the early age of sixteen he became a lawyer and was very successful and renowned in his chosen career. After winning case after case and attaining a name for himself, Alphonsus made a mistake which caused him to lose a very important case. He did not eat for days afterwards and prayed for discernment for God’s will in his life. God showed him the vanity of human fame and glory. He decided to abandon the legal profession at the age of twenty-seven and to become a priest despite his father’s disapproval. He desired to labor for the glory of God alone.
Saint Alphonsus was ordained a priest in 1726, and he soon became as renowned a preacher as he had been a lawyer. His father stopped in a church to pray one day, and amazed, heard his son preaching and suddenly saw clearly how God had marvelously elevated his son. His heart became filled with joy and he exclaimed: “My son has made God known to me!”
Alphonsus, devoted himself to the poor and to the most neglected souls in the region of Naples. He was an excellent confessor, and wrote a manual which has been used ever since for the instruction of those who administer the sacrament of Penance. A skilled musician, Saint Alphonsus composed joyful religious hymns for the poor he heard singing in the streets, that they might glorify God and not waste their voices and efforts in vain and worldly songs.
In 1732, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemers (the Redemptorists or Ligourians) to help him in his evangelization efforts, laboring for the salvation of the most abandoned souls. St. Alphonsus succeeded in establishing his Congregation, which became his glory and crown, but also his cross. The holy founder labored incessantly at the work of the missions until, about 1756, he was appointed Bishop of St. Agatha, a diocese he governed until 1775, when broken by age and infirmity, he resigned this office to retire to his convent where he died. Few saints have labored as much, either by word or by writing, as St. Alphonsus. He was a prolific and popular author. His final years were characterized by intense suffering, which he bore with resignation, adding voluntary mortifications to his other pains. His happy death took place at Nocera de Pagani, August 1, 1787.
St. Alphonsus suffered for most of his life from severe arthritis, but vowed never to waste a moment of his life and lived that way for over 90 years.
Alphonsus demonstrated a great devotion to prayer, love of the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He wrote on all these topics.
My Favorite Quotes of St. Alphonsus Liguori:
“To cast fire upon the earth—that is my mission! And how I wish it were already blazing fiercely! Nothing in the world can set hearts ablaze with love for God like the Blessed Sacrament. That is why this divine bread has been pictured as a furnace of love. Saint Catherine of Siena saw far-reaching flames coming from this furnace of love and spreading throughout the world. Seeing this, Catherine simply could not understand how so many people could live without loving God. “My Lord, set me on fire with love for you. Let me think of nothing, crave for nothing, yearn for nothing, search for nothing, but you. How I wish to be caught up in this scorching fire of love! How I wish it would consume every obstacle that blocks my path toward you! Make my love for you grow stronger each day of my life.”
“Know also that you will probably gain more by praying fifteen minutes before the Blessed Sacrament than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day. True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’ but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament will obtain a more abundant measure of grace.”
“Good friends find pleasure in one another’s company. Let us know pleasure in the company of our best Friend, a Friend who can do everything for us, a friend who loves us beyond measure. Here in the Blessed Sacrament we can talk to him straight from the heart. We can open our souls to him, tell him what we need, beg him for powerful graces. We are perfectly free to approach the King of the universe with full confidence and without fear.”
Let all, all be devout to the most blessed Virgin; and, after God, let us honor the most holy Virgin.Happy is the Christian who has the most blessed Virgin for him; and miserable is that Christian who has not the blessed Virgin on his side.The most blessed Virgin can obtain everything from God, because she is his true Mother, and is so much beloved by him; and she will do everything for us, because she is our Mother also, and loves us so much.Let us, therefore, always try to gain her friendship more and more; let us ingratiate ourselves with her more and more, by continually fostering in ourselves devotion towards her.Every day let us say her Rosary.Fast in her honor every Saturday.Observe the novenas and the fast before all her principal feasts.Practice some devotion also on all her smaller, even her smallest feasts.And let us, besides, in all our necessities, in all our misfortunes, have recourse to her, have confidence in her; and through her security in life, security in death, security through all eternity.
“If you pray, you are positive of saving your soul. If you do not pray, you are just as positive of losing your soul. “
Those persons are tenderly affected who go to Jerusalem… but how much greater ought our tenderness be in visiting an altar on which Jesus is present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Prayer at the End of the Day
Jesus Christ my God, I adore you and I thank you for all the graces you have given me this day. I offer you my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I implore you to keep me safe from sin. To this end I place myself in your sacred side and under the mantle of our Lady, my Mother. Let your holy angels surround me and keep me in peace; and let your blessing be upon me. Amen.
~ Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori