Alphonsus Liguori: Behold, the Door of My Heart is Already Open Friday, Dec 6 2013 

Sant'Alfonso_LiguoriBut how is it my Jesus, that after Thou hast repaired this ruin of sin by Thy own death, I have so often wilfully renewed it again by the many offences I have committed against Thee?

Thou hast saved me at so great a cost, and I have so often chosen to damn myself, in losing Thee, O infinite Good!

But what Thou hast said gives me confidence that when the sinner who has turned his back upon Thee is converted to Thee, Thou wilt not refuse to embrace him: Turn ye to Me, and I will turn to you.

Thou hast also said, If any man shall…open to Me the door, I will come in to him.

Behold, Lord, I am one of these rebels, an ungrateful traitor, who have often turned my back upon Thee, and driven Thee from my soul; but now I repent with all my heart for having thus ill-used Thee and despised Thy grace; I repent of it, and love Thee above everything.

Behold, the door of my heart is already open; enter Thou, but enter never to leave it again.

I know well that Thou wilt never leave me, if I do not again drive Thee away; but this is my fear, and this is the grace which I ask of Thee, and which I hope always to ask; let me die rather than be guilty of this fresh and still greater ingratitude.

My dearest Redeemer, I do not deserve to love Thee, after all the offences that I have committed against Thee; but for Thy own merits sake I ask of Thee the gift of Thy holy love, and therefore I beseech Thee make me know the great good Thou art, the love Thou hast borne me, and how much Thou hast done to oblige me to love Thee.

Ah, my God and Saviour, let me no longer live ungrateful to Thy great goodness. My Jesus, I will never leave Thee again; I have already offended Thee enough. It is only right that I should employ the remaining years of my life in loving Thee and pleasing Thee.

My Jesus, my Jesus, help me ; help a sinner that wishes to love Thee. O Mary, my Mother, thou hast all power with Jesus, seeing thou art his Mother; beg of him to forgive me; beg of him to enchain me with his holy love. Thou art my hope; in thee do I confide.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Meditations for Every Day of Advent, 1 in The Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy of Jesus Christ, pp. 173-174.

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Alphonsus Liguori: He That Loves Jesus Christ Desires Nothing But Jesus Christ Wednesday, Apr 18 2012 

He that loves God does not desire to be esteemed and loved by his fellow-men: the single desire of his heart is to enjoy the favor of Almighty God, who alone forms the object of his love.

[…]  St. James writes, that as God confers his graces with open hands upon the humble, so does he close them against the proud, whom he resists. God resists the proud, and gives His grace to the humble.

[…] The saying of St. Francis of Assisi is most true: “What I am before God, that I am.” Of what use is it to pass for great in the eyes of the world, if before God we be vile and worthless?

And on the contrary, what matters it to be despised by the world, provided we be dear and acceptable in the eyes of God? St. Augustine thus writes: “The approbation of him who praises neither heals a bad conscience, nor does the reproach of one who blames wound a good conscience.”

[…]  “What does it matter,” says St. Teresa, “though we be condemned and reviled by creatures, if before Thee, O God! we are great and without blame?”

The saints had no other desire than to live unknown, and to pass for contemptible in the estimation of all.

Thus writes St. Francis de Sales: “But what wrong do we suffer when people have a bad opinion of us, since we ought to have such of ourselves? Perhaps we know that we are bad, and yet wish to pass off for good in the estimation of others.”

Oh, what security is found in the hidden life for such as wish cordially to love Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ himself set us the example, by living hidden and despised for thirty years in a workshop.

And with the same view of escaping the esteem of men, the saints went and hid themselves in deserts and in caves.

It was said by St. Vincent of Paul that a love of appearing in public, and of being spoken of in terms of praise, and of hearing our conduct commended, or that people should say that we succeed admirably and work wonders, is an evil which, while it makes us unmindful of God, contaminates our best actions, and proves the most fatal drawback to the spiritual life.

Whoever, therefore, would make progress in the love of Jesus Christ, must absolutely give a death-blow to the love of self-esteem.

[…] In order, then, to be pleasing in the sight of God, we must avoid all ambition of appearing and of making a parade in the eyes of men. And we must shun with still greater caution the ambition of governing others.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, 6 @ Alphonsianum.


Alphonsus Liguori: “You shall Draw Waters with Joy out of the Saviour’s Fountains” Monday, Aug 1 2011 

Behold the source of every good, Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, who says If any man thirst, let him come to Me (John 2:27).

Oh, what torrents of grace have the saints drawn from the fountain of the Most Blessed Sacrament!

For there Jesus dispenses all the merits of his Passion, as it was foretold by the Prophet: You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour’s fountains (Isaiah 12:3).

The Countess of Feria…on being asked how she employed the many hours thus passed in the presence of the Holy of Holies, answered:

“I could remain there for all eternity. And is not there present the very essence of God, who will be the food of the blessed?

“Am I asked what I do in his presence? Why am I not rather asked, what is not done there? “We love, we ask, we praise, we give thanks. We ask, what does a poor man do in the presence of one who is rich? What does a sick man do in the presence of his physician?

“What does a man do who is parched with thirst in the presence of a clear fountain? What is the occupation of one who is starving, and is placed before a splendid table?”

O my most amiable, most sweet, most beloved Jesus, my life, my hope, my treasure, the only love of my soul; oh, what has it cost Thee to remain thus with us in this Sacrament!

Thou hadst to die, that Thou mightest thus dwell amongst us on our altars; and then, how many insults hast Thou not had to endure in this Sacrament, in order to aid us by Thy presence!

Thy love, and the desire which Thou hast to be loved by us, have conquered all.

Come then, O Lord! Come and take possession of my heart; close its doors forever, that henceforward no creature may enter there, to divide the love which is due to Thee, and which it is my ardent desire to bestow all on Thee.

Do Thou alone, my dear Redeemer, rule me; do Thou alone possess my whole being.

[…] Grant that I may no longer seek for any other pleasure than that of giving Thee pleasure; that all my pleasure may be to visit Thee often on Thy altar.

[…] Let all who will, seek other treasures; the only treasure that I love, the only one that I desire, is that of Thy love; for this only will I ask at the foot of the altar.

Do Thou make me forget myself, that thus I may only remember Thy goodness.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): The Holy Eucharist, pp. 127-128.

Alphonsus Liguori: Let Us Abandon Everything To God’s Good Pleasure Wednesday, Mar 10 2010 

What greater consolation can come to a soul than to know that by patiently bearing some tribulation, it gives God the greatest pleasure in its power?

[…] If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will.

Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God’s will.

[…] When anything disagreeable happens, remember it comes from God and say at once, “This comes from God” and be at peace: “I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because thou hast done it.

Lord, since thou hast done this, I will be silent and accept it. Direct all your thoughts and prayers to this end, to beg God constantly in meditation, Communion, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament that he help you accomplish his holy will.

Form the habit of offering yourself frequently to God by saying, “My God, behold me in thy presence; do with me and all that I have as thou pleasest.”

[…] How fortunate you, kind reader, if you too act thus! You will surely become a saint. Your life will be calm and peaceful; your death will be happy.

At death all our hope of salvation will come from the testimony of our conscience as to whether or not we are dying resigned to God’s will.

If during life we have embraced everything as coming from God’s hands, and if at death we embrace death in fulfillment of God’s holy will, we shall certainly save our souls and die the death of saints.

Let us then abandon everything to God’s good pleasure, because being infinitely wise, he knows what is best for us.

And, being all-good and all-loving – having given his life for us – he wills what is best for us.

Let us, as St. Basil counsels us, rest secure in the conviction that beyond the possibility of a doubt, God works to effect our welfare, infinitely better than we could ever hope to accomplish or desire it ourselves.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Uniformity with God’s Will

Alphonsus Liguori: God Wills Only Our Good Monday, Nov 16 2009 

God wills only our good; God loves us more than anybody else can or does love us.

His will is that no one should lose his soul, that everyone should save and sanctify his soul: “Not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance” (2 Pet. 3:9); “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (I Thess. 4:3).

God has made the attainment of our happiness his glory. Since he is by his nature infinite goodness, and since, as St. Leo says, goodness is diffusive of itself, God has a supreme desire to make us sharers of his goods and of his happiness.

If then he sends us suffering in this life, it is for our own good: “All things work together unto good” (Rom. 8:28).

 

Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls: “Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction” (Judith 8:27).

God surrounds us with his loving care lest we suffer eternal damnation: “O Lord, thou hast crowned us as with a shield of thy good will” (Ps. 5:13).

He is most solicitous for our welfare: “The Lord is solicitous for me” (Ps. 39:18). What can God deny us when he has given us his own son? “He that spared not even his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things” (Rom. 8:32).

Therefore we should most confidently abandon ourselves to all the dispositions of divine providence, since they are for our own good.

In all that happens to us, let us say: “In peace, in the self same I will sleep, and I will rest: Because thou, O Lord, hast singularly settled me in hope” (Ps. 4:9-10).

Let us place ourselves unreservedly in his hands because he will not fail to have care of us: “Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Uniformity with God’s Will

Alphonsus Liguori: Conformity and Uniformity with the Divine Will Thursday, Oct 29 2009 

A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint. Behold while Saul was persecuting the Church, God enlightened him and converted him.

What does Saul do? What does he say? Nothing else but to offer himself to do God’s will: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do” (Acts 9:6).

In return the Lord calls him a vessel of election and an apostle of the gentiles: “This man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the gentiles”.

Absolutely true – because he who gives his will to God, gives him everything. He who gives his goods in alms, his blood in scourgings, his food in fasting, gives God what he has. But he who gives God his will, gives himself, gives everything he is.

Such a one can say: “Though I am poor, Lord, I give thee all I possess; but when I say I give thee my will, I have nothing left to give thee.” This is just what God does require of us: “My son, give me thy heart” (Prov. 23:26).

St. Augustine’s comment is: “There is nothing more pleasing we can offer God than to say to him: ‘Possess thyself of us’”.

We cannot offer God anything more pleasing than to say: Take us, Lord, we give thee our entire will. Only let us know thy will and we will carry it out.

If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to his divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us.

Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more – it means that we make one will of God’s will and ours, so that we will only what God wills; that God’s will alone, is our will.

This is the summit of perfection and to it we should always aspire; this should be the goal of all our works, desires, meditations and prayers.

To this end we should always invoke the aid of our holy patrons, our guardian angels, and above all, of our mother Mary, the most perfect of all the saints because she most perfectly embraced the divine will.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Uniformity with God’s Will

Alphonsus Liguori: The Saints and the Will of God Thursday, Oct 15 2009 

To do God’s will – this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul.

Blessed Henry Suso used to say: “It is not God’s will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will.”

“Those who give themselves to prayer,” says St. Teresa, “should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their wills with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes their highest perfection. The more fully they practice this, the greater the gifts they will receive from God, and the greater the progress they will make in the interior life.”

A certain Dominican nun was vouchsafed a vision of heaven one day. She recognized there some persons she had known during their mortal life on earth.

It was told her these souls were raised to the sublime heights of the seraphs on account of the uniformity of their wills with that of God’s during their lifetime here on earth.

Blessed Henry Suso, mentioned above, said of himself: “I would rather be the vilest worm on earth by God’s will, than be a seraph by my own.”

During our sojourn in this world, we should learn from the saints now in heaven, how to love God. The pure and perfect love of God they enjoy there, consists in uniting themselves perfectly to his will.

It would be the greatest delight of the seraphs to pile up sand on the seashore or to pull weeds in a garden for all eternity, if they found out such was God’s will.

Our Lord himself teaches us to ask to do the will of God on earth as the saints do it in heaven: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Uniformity with God’s Will

Alphonsus Liguori: Christ and the Will of God Thursday, Oct 15 2009 

The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything. Our Redeemer came on earth to glorify his heavenly Father and to teach us by his example how to do the same.

St. Paul represents him saying to his eternal Father: “Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not: But a body thou hast fitted to me…Then said I: Behold I come to do thy will, O God” (Habakkuk 10:5-7). Thou hast refused the victims offered thee by man; thou dost will that I sacrifice my body to thee. Behold me ready to do thy will.

Our Lord frequently declared that he had come on earth not to do his own will, but solely that of his Father: “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).

He spoke in the same strain in the garden when he went forth to meet his enemies who had come to seize him and to lead him to death: “But that the world may know that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I; arise and let us go hence” (John 14:31).

Furthermore, he said he would recognize as his brother, him who would do his will: “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother” (Matthew 12:50).

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): Uniformity with God’s Will