Sermon of St.Alphonsus Liguori~Second Sunday of Advent

SERMON II. SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT. – ON THE ADVANTAGES OF TRIBULATIONS.

” Now when John had heard of the wonderful works of Christ,” etc. MATT. ix. 2.

IN tribulations God enriches his beloved souls with the greatest graces. Behold, St. John in his chains comes to the knowledge of the works of Jesus Christ: ” When John had heard in prison the works of Christ.” Great indeed are the advantages of tribulations. The Lord sends them to us, not because he wishes our misfortune, but because he desires our welfare. Hence, when they come upon us we must embrace them with thanksgiving, and must not only resign ourselves to the divine will, but must also rejoice that God treats us as he treated his Son Jesus Christ, whose life, upon this earth was always full of tribulation. I shall now show, in the first point, the advantages we derive from tribulations; and in the second, I shall point out the manner in which we ought to bear them.

First Point. On the great advantages we derive from tribulations.

1. “What doth he know that had not been tried? A man that hath much experience shall think of many things, and he that hath learned many things shall show forth understanding.” (Eccl. xxxiv. 9.) They who live in prosperity, and have no experience of adversity, know nothing of the state of their souls. In the first place, tribulation opens the eyes which prosperity had kept shut. St. Paul remained blind after Jesus Christ appeared to him, and, during his blindness, he perceived the errors in which he lived. During his imprisonment in Babylon, King Manasses had recourse to God, was convinced of the malice of his sins, and id penance for them. “And after that he was in distress he prayed to the Lord his God, and did penance exceedingly before the God of his fathers.” (2 Paral. xxxiii. 12.) The prodigal, when he found himself under the necessity of feeding swine, and afflicted with hunger, exclaimed: ”I will arise and go to my father.” (Luke xv. 18.)

Secondly, tribulation takes from our hearts all affections to earthly things. When a mother wishes to wean her infant she puts gall on the paps, to excite his disgust, and induce him to take better food. God treats us in a similar manner: to detach us from temporal goods, he mingles them with gall, that by tasting its bitterness, we may conceive a dislike for them, and place our affections on the things of Heaven. ”God,” says St. Augustine, ”mingles bitterness with earthly pleasures, that we may seek another felicity, whose sweetness does not deceive.” (Ser. xxix., de Verb. Dom.)

Thirdly, they who live in prosperity are molested by many temptations of pride , of vain- glory; of desires of acquiring greater wealth, great honours, and greater pleasures. Tribulations free us from these temptations, and make us humble and content in the state in which the Lord has placed us. Hence the Apostle says: ”We are chastised by the Lord that we may not be condemned with this world.” (1 Cor. xi. 32.)

2. Fourthly, by tribulation we atone for the sins we have committed much better than by voluntary works of penance. “Be assured,” says St. Augustine, “that God is a physician, and that tribulation is a salutary medicine.” Oh! how great is the efficacy of tribulation in healing the wounds caused by our sins! Hence, the same saint rebukes the sinner who complains of God for sending him tribulations. ”Why,” he says, ”do you complain? What you suffer is a remedy, not a punishment.” (In Ps. lv.) Job called those happy men whom God corrects by tribulation; because he heals them with the very hands with which he strikes and wounds them. “Blessed is the man whom God correcteth. . . . For he woundeth and cureth. He striketh, and his hand shall heal.” (Job v. 17, 18.) Hence, St. Paul gloried in his tribulations: ”Gloriamur in tribulationibus.” (Rom. v. 3.)

3. Fifthly, by convincing us that God alone is able and willing to relieve us in our miseries, tribulations remind us of him, and compel us to have recourse to his mercy. ”In their affliction they will rise early to me.” (Osee vi. 1.) Hence, addressing the afflicted, the Lord said: ”Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. xi. 28.) Hence he is called”a helper in troubles.” (Ps. xlv. 1 .) “When,” says David,” he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned.” (Ps. lxxvii. 34.) When the Jews were afflicted, and were slain by their enemies, they remembered the Lord, and returned to him.

4. Sixthly, tribulations enable us to acquire great merits before God, by giving us opportunities of exercising the virtues of humility, of patience, and of resignation to the divine will. The venerable John d’Avila used to say, that a single blessed be God: in adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts in prosperity. ”Take away,” says St. Ambrose, ”the contests of the martyrs, and you have taken away their crowns.” (In Luc., c. iv.) Oh! what a treasure of merit is acquired by patiently bearing insults, poverty, and sickness! Insults from men were the great objects of the desires of the saints, who sought to be despised for the love of Jesus Christ, and thus to be made like unto him.

5. How great is the merit gained by bearing with the inconvenience of poverty. ”My God and my all,” says St. Francis of Assisium: in expressing this sentiment, he enjoyed more of true riches than all the princes of the Earth. How truly has St. Teresa said, that”the less we have here, the more we shall enjoy hereafter.” Oh! how happy is the man who can say from his heart: My Jesus, thou alone art sufficient for me! If, says St. Chrysostom, you esteem yourself unhappy because you are poor, you are indeed miserable and deserving of tears; not because you are poor, but because, being poor, you do not embrace your poverty, and esteem yourself happy.”“Sane dignus es lachrymis ob hoc, quod miserum te extimas, non ideo quod pauper es.” (Serm, ii., Epis. ad Phil.)

6. By bearing patiently with the pains of sickness, a great, and perhaps the greater, part of the crown which is prepared for us in Heaven is completed. The sick sometimes complain that in sickness they can do nothing; but they err; for, in their infirmities they can do all things, by accepting their sufferings with peace and resignation. ”The Cross of Christ,” says St. Chrysostom, ”is the key of Paradise.” (Com. in Luc. de vir.)

7. St. Francis de Sales used to say . ”To suffer constantly for Jesus is the science of the saints; we shall thus soon become saints.” It is by sufferings that God proves his servants, and finds them worthy of himself. ”Deus tentavit es, et invenit eos dignos se.” (Wis. iii. 5) “Whom,” says St. Paul, “the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Heb. xii. 6.) Hence, Jesus Christ once said to St. Teresa: ”Be assured that the souls dearest to my Father are those who suffer the greatest afflictions.” Hence Job said: ”If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil ?” (Job. ii. 10.) If we have gladly received from God the goods of this Earth, why should we not receive more cheerfully tribulations, which are far more useful to us than worldly prosperity? St. Gregory informs us that, as flame fanned by the wind increases, so the soul is made perfect when she is oppressed by tribulations. ”Ignis flatu premitur, ut crescat.” (Ep. xxv.)

8. To holy souls the most severe afflictions are the temptations by which the Devil impels them to offend God: but they who bear these temptations with patience, and banish them by turning to God for help, shall acquire great merit. ”And,” says St. Paul, ”God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will also make issue with the temptation that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. x. 13.) God permits us to be molested by temptations, that, by banishing them, we may gain greater merit. ”Blessed,” says the Lord, ”are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. ”(Matt. v. 5.) They are blessed, because, according to the Apostle, our tribulations are momentary and very light, compared with the greatness of the glory which they shall obtain for us for eternity in Heaven. ”For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (1 Cor. iv. 17.)

9. It is necessary, then, says St. Chrysostom, to bear tribulations in peace; for, if you accept them with resignation, you shall gain great merit; but if you submit to them with reluctance, you shall increase, instead of diminishing, your misery”Si vero ægre feras, neque calamitatum minorem facies, et majorem reddes procellam” (Hom. Ixiv., ad Pop.) If we wish to be saved, we must submit to trials. ”Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts xiv. 21.) A great servant of God used to say, that Paradise is the place of the poor, of the persecuted, of the humble and afflicted. Hence St. Paul says: “Patience is necessary for you, that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Heb. x. 36.) Speaking of the tribulations of the saints, St. Cyprian asks”What are they to the servants of God, whom Paradise invites ?” (Ep, ad Demetr.) Is it much for those to whom the eternal goods of Heaven are promised, to embrace the short afflictions of this life?

10. In fine, the scourges of Heaven are sent not for our injury, but for our good. ”Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord, with which, like servants, we are chastised, have happened for our amendment, and not for our destruction.” (Judith viii. 27.)”God,” says St. Augustine, ”is angry when he does not scourge the sinner.” (In Ps. Ixxxix.) When we see a sinner in tribulation in this life, we may infer that God wishes to have mercy on him in the next, and that he exchanges eternal for temporal chastisement. But miserable the sinner whom the Lord does not punish in this life! For those whom he does not chastise here, he treasures up his wrath, and for them he reserves eternal chastisement.

11. ”Why,” asks the Prophet Jeremiah, ”doth the way of the wicked prosper?” (xii. 1.) Why, Lord, do sinners prosper? To this the same prophet answers: ”Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.” (Tb. v. 3.) As on the day of sacrifice the sheep intended for slaughter are gathered together, so the impious, as victims of divine wrath, are destined to eternal death. “Destine them,” says Du Hamel, in his commentary on this passage, “as victims of thy anger on the day of sacrifice.”

12. When, then, God sends us tribulations, let us say with Job: “I have sinned, and indeed I have offended, and I have not received what I have deserved.” (Job xxxiii. 27.) O Lord, my sins merit far greater chastisement than that which thou hast inflicted on me. We should even pray with St. Augustine, ”Burn cut spare not in this life, that thou mayest spare for eternity.” How frightful is the chastisement of the sinner of whom the Lord says: “Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice.” (Is. xxvi. 10.) Let us abstain from chastising the impious: as long as they remain in this life they will continue to live in sin, and shall thus be punished with eternal torments. On this passage St. Bernard says: “Misericordiam hanc nolo, super omnem iram miseratio ista.” (Serin, xlii., in Cant.) Lord, I do not wish for such mercy, which is a chastisement that surpasses all chastisements.

13. The man whom the Lord afflicts in this life has a certain proof that he is dear to God. ”And,” said the angel to Tobias, ”because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptations should prove thee.” (Tob. xii. 13.) Hence, St. James pronounces blessed the man who is afflicted: because after he shall have been proved by tribulation, he will receive the crown of life.” (Jam. i. 12.)

14. He who wishes to share in the glory of the saints, must suffer in this life as the saints have suffered. None of the saints has been esteemed or treated well by the world all of them have been despised and persecuted. In them have been verified the words of the Apostle: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. iii. 12.) Hence St. Augustine said, that they who are unwilling to suffer persecutions, have not as yet begun to be Christians. “Si putas non habere persecutiones, nondum cæpisti esse Christianus.” (In Ps. Iv.) “When we are in tribulation, let us be satisfied with the consolation of knowing that the Lord is then near us and in our company. ”The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart.” (Ps. xxxiii. 19.)”I am with him in tribulation.” (Ps. xc. 15.)

Second Point. On the manner in which we should bear tribulations.

15. He who suffers tribulations in this world should, in the first place, abandon sin, and endeavour to recover the grace of God; for as long as he remains in sin, the merit of all his sufferings is lost. ”If,” says St. Paul, ”I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) If you suffered all the torments of the martyrs; or bore to be burned alive, and were not in the state of grace, it would profit you nothing.

16. But, to those who can suffer with God, and with resignation for God’s sake, all the tribulations shall be a source of comfort and gladness. ”Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John xvi. 20.) Hence, after having been insulted and beaten by the Jews, the apostles departed from the council full of joy, because they had been maltreated for the love of Jesus Christ. ”And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.” (Acts v. 41.) Hence, when God visits us with any tribulations, we must say with Jesus Christ: ”The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?” (John xviii. 11.) It is necessary to know that every tribulation, though it may come from men, is sent to us by God.

17. When we are surrounded on all sides with tribulations, and know not what to do, we must turn to God, who alone can console us. Thus King Josaphat, in his distress, said to the Lord: “As we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee.” (2 Par. xx. 12.) Thus David also in his tribulation had recourse to God, and God consoled him: “In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and he heard me.” (Ps. cxix. 1.) We should turn to God, and pray to him, and never cease to pray till he hears us. ”As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us.” (Ps. cxxii. 2.) We must keep our eyes continually raised to God, and must continue to implore his aid, until he is moved to compassion for our miseries. We must have great confidence in the heart of Jesus Christ, and ought not to imitate certain persons, who instantly lose courage because they do not feel that they are heard as soon as they begin to pray. To them may be applied the words of the Saviour to St. Peter: “0 thou of little faith! why didst thou doubt?” (Matt. xiv. 31.) When the favours which we ask are spiritual, or can be profitable to our souls, we should be certain of being heard, provided we persevere in prayer, and do not lose confidence. ”All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come unto you.” (Mark xi. 24.) In tribulations, then, we should never cease to hope with confidence that the divine mercy will console us; and if our afflictions continue, we must say with Job: ”Although he should kill me, I will trust in him.” (xiii. 15.)

18. Souls of little faith, instead of turning to God in their tribulations, have recourse to human means, and thus provoke God’s anger, and remain in their miseries. “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.” (Ps. cxxvi. 1.) On this passage St. Augustine writes: “Ipse ædificat, ipse intellectum aperit, ipse ad finem applicat sensum vestrum: et tamen laboramus et nos tanquam operarii, sed nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem,” etc. All good all help must come from the Lord. Without him creatures can give us no assistance.

19. Of this the Lord complains by the mouth of his prophet: ”Is not,” he says, ”the Lord in Sion? . . .Why then have they provoked me to wrath with their idols. . . Is there no balm in Galaad? or is there no physician there? Why then is not the wound of the daughter of my people closed?” (Jer. viii. 19, 22.) Am I not in Sion? Why then do men provoke me to anger by recurring to creatures, which they convert into idols by placing in them all their hopes? Do they seek a remedy for their miseries? Why do they not seek it in Galaad, a mountain full of balsamic ointments, which signify the divine mercy? There they can find the physician and the remedy of all their evils. Why then, says the Lord, do your wounds remain open? Why are they not healed? It is because you have recourse not to me, but to creatures, and because you confide in them, and not in me.

20. In another place the Lord says: “Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a late ward springing land? Why then have my people said: We are revolted; we will come to thee no more ?. .But my people have forgotten me days without number.” (Jer. ii. 31, 32.) God complains, and says: ”Why, my children, do you say that you will have recourse to me no more? Am I become to you a barren land, which gives no fruit, or gives it too late? Is it for this reason that you have so long forgotten me? By these words he manifests to us his desire that we pray to him, in order that he may be able to give us his graces; and he also gives us to understand that when we pray to him, he is not slow, but instantly begins to assist us.

21. The Lord, says David, is not asleep when we turn to his goodness, and ask the graces which are profitable to our souls: he hears us immediately, because he is anxious for our welfare. “Behold, he shall neither slumber nor sleep that keepeth Israel.” (Ps. cxx. 4.) When we pray for temporal favours, St. Bernard says that God”will give what we ask, or something more useful.” He will grant us the grace which we desire, whenever it is profitable to our souls; or he will give us a more useful grace, such as the grace to resign ourselves to the divine will, and to suffer with patience our tribulations, which shall merit a great increase of glory in Heaven.

[Act of sorrow and amendment, prayer to Jesus and Mary.]

The Lady of Second Chances

A noble youth, named Eschylus, being
sent by the prince, his father, to Hildesheim, a city of Saxony, to study, abandoned himself to
a dissolute life. He fell ill, and was near dying, and while in that state he had a vision. He saw himself shut up in a furnace of fire, and believed himself to be already in hell; and then he escap- ed from it through a hole and took refuge in a great place, where he found the most holy Mary in the hall, and she said to him: “Rash man, do you dare to appear before me? Depart
from here and go to the flames which you
merit.” The young man besought the Virgin
to have mercy on him, and then turned to some persons who were near, and implored them to recommend him to Mary. They did so, and
the heavenly mother answered: “You do not know the sinful life he has led, and that he had not even yought of saying a Hail Mary in my
honor.” But his advocates answered: “Oh
Lady, he will change his life;” and the youth added: “Yes, I promise really to amend, and
I will be your servant.” Then the Virgin’s anger was appeased, and she said to him: “Well, I ac- cept your promise, be faithful to me, and mean- while with my blessing, be delivered from hell and death.” When she had said this, the Virgin disappeared. Eschylus came to himself, and blessing Mary, related to others the grace he
had received. He led ever after a holy life,
always preserving a great affection towards the blessed Virgin, and was made Archbishop of
the Church of Lude, in Denmark, where he con- verted many to the faith. Towards the close
of his life, being old, he resigned the bishopric and became a monk of Clairvaux where he lived four years, and died a holy death. Hence he has been numbered by some writers among the saints of the Cistercian order.

Source:”The Glories of Mary”by St.Alphonsus Liguori

3 Stories Which Illustrate the Power of Just One Single Hail Mary 


In a city of Spain there lived a sinful man who had given himself to the devil, and had never been to confession. He did nothing good
but say a “Hail Mary” every day. Father Eusebius Nierembergh relates that when this man was at the point of death the most holy Virgin appeared to him in a dream and looked on him; her kind eyes so changed him that he immediately sent for a confessor, made his confession
with a voice broken by sobs, made a vow to become a religious if he should live, and then died.
 

A devout servant of Mary always inculcated it upon her daughter that she should often recite the “Hail Mary,” especially when she was in any danger. One day when this girl was resting after a ball, she was attacked by a demon, who in a visible form, bore her off with him. He had already seized her, but she began
“Hail Mary,” and the enemy disappeared.

A woman of Cologne who had criminal intercourse with an ecclesiastic, found him one day hanging in her room dead. After this she entered into a monastery, where the devil assail- ed her in a bodily form, so that she knew not what to do in order to be delivered from him.
A companion suggested to her to say the “Hail Mary;” and when she did so the demon said: “Accursed may she be who has taught you this,” and appeared no more.

Excerpts from “The Glories of Mary” by St.Alphonsus Liguori 

50 Maxims for Attaining Perfection by St.Alphonsus Liguori


50 Maxims for Attaining Perfection by St.Alphonsus Liguori 

1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.

2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.

3. Often to meditate on his Passion.

4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love.

5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.

6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.

7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ himself your own cross.

8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity.

9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.

10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ.

11. To rejoice in the happiness of God.

12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him.

13. To desire and to endeavour that all should love Jesus Christ.

14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.

15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ.

16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ.

17. To honour Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.

18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions,

19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for his love.

20 To be always determined to die rather than commit a wilful venial sin.

27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, ‘Thus it pleases Jesus Christ.

22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ.

23. To pray as much as possible.

24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.

25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.

26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity.

27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect.

28. Not to complain in sickness.

29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ.

30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].

37. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ.

32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows.

33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ.

34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend.

35. To do good to those who do evil.

36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.

37. To help your neighbour as much as you can.

38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.

39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.

40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.

41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ.

42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything.

43. To like the lowest employment.

44. To like the poorest things.

45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself.

46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.

47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.

48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.

49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].

50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, ‘My Jesus, I desire to be all Yours, and You must be all mine.

St.Alphonsus Liguori~Patron of Confessors and the Lay Apostolate 


Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. He was born Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori on September 27,1696, at Marianella, near Naples, Italy. Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Joseph, who was a naval officer and a captain of the Royal Galleys. Alphonsus was the oldest of seven children, raised by a devout mother of Spanish descent. Educated at the University of Naples, Alphonsus received his doctorate at the age of sixteen. By age nineteen he was practicing law, but he saw the transitory nature of the secular world, and after a brief time, retreated from the law courts and his fame. Visiting the local Hospital for Incurables on August 28, 1723, he had a vision and was told to consecrate his life solely to God. In response, Alphonsus dedicated himself to the religious life, even while suffering persecution from his family. He finally agreed to become a priest but to live at home as a member of a group of secular missionaries. He was ordained on December 21, 1726, and he spent six years giving missions throughout Naples. In April 1729, Alphonsus went to live at the “Chiflese College,” founded in Naples by Father Matthew Ripa, the Apostle of China. There he met Bishop Thomas Falcoia, founder of the Congregation of Pious Workers. This lifelong friendship aided Alphonsus, as did his association with a mystic, Sister Mary Celeste. With their aid, Aiphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on November 9, 1732. The foundation faced immediate problems, and after just one year, Alphonsus found himself with only one lay brother, his other companions having left to form their own religious group. He started again, recruited new members, and in 1743 became the prior of two new congregations, one for men and one for women. Pope Benedict XIV gave his approval for the men’s congregation in 1749 and for the women’s in 1750. Alphonsus was preaching missions in the rural areas and writing. He refused to become the bishop of Palermo but in 1762 had to accept the papal command to accept the see of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples. Here he discovered more than thirty thousand uninstructed men and women and four hundred indifferent priests. For thirteen years Alphonsus fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous, and he suffered daily the pain from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body. He spent several years having to drink from tubes because his head was so bent forward. An attack of rheumatic fever, from May 1768 to June 1769, left him paralyzed. He was not allowed to resign his see, however, until 1775. In 1780, Alphonsus was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation. This submission altered the original rule, and as a result Alphonsus was denied any authority among the Redemptorists. Deposed and excluded from his own congregation, Alphonsus suffered great anguish. But he overcame his depression, and he experienced visions, performed miracles, and gave prophecies. He died peacefully on August 1,1787, at Nocera di Pagani, near Naples as the Angelus was ringing. He was beatified in 1816 and canonized in 1839. In 1871, Alphonsus was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX. His writings on moral, theological, and ascetic matters had great impact and have survived through the years, especially his Moral Theology and his Glories of Mary. He was buried at the monastery of the Pagani near Naples. Shrines were built there and at St. Agatha of the Goths. He is the patron of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate. In liturgical art he is depicted as bent over with rheumatism or as a young priest.

Why We Should Never Abuse Our Lady’s Advocacy

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There were two young noblemen in Madrid, of whom the one encouraged the other in leading a wicked life, and in committing all sorts of crimes. One of them one night in a dream saw his friend taken by certain dark men, and carried to a tempestuous sea. They were going to take him in a similar manner, but he had recourse to Mary, and made a vow that he would embrace the religious state; on which he was delivered from those men. He then saw Jesus on a throne, as if in anger, and the Blessed Virgin imploring mercy for him. After this his friend came to pay him a visit, and he then related what he had seen; but his companion only turned it into ridicule, and he was shortly afterwards stabbed and died. When the young man saw this his vision was verified, he went to confession, and renewed his resolution to enter a religious Order, and for this purpose he sold all that he had; but instead of giving it to the poor, as he had intended, he spent it in all sorts of debauchery. He then fell ill, and had another vision. He thought he saw hell open, and the divine Judge, who had already condemned him. Again he had recourse to Mary, and she once more delivered him. He recovered his health and went on worse than ever. He afterwards went to Lima in South America, where he relapsed into his former illness; and in the hospital of that place he was once more touched by the grace of God, confessed his sins to the Jesuit Father, Francis Perlino, and promised him that he would change his life; but again he fell into his former crimes. At last the same Father, going into another hospital in a distant place, saw the miserable wretch extended on the ground, and heard him cry out: “Ah, abandoned wretch that I am! For my greater torment this Father is come to witness my chastisement. From Lima I came here, where my vices have brought me to this end; and now I go to hell.” With these words he expired, without even leaving the Father time to help him and his soul going to hell for eternity.

~From The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori~