" A badly written sermon has no more chance of piercing the heart than a rusty and crooked nail has of entering a wall! "
Ven. Fr Passerat C.Ss.R
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SAINT ALPHONSUS

spirit dove

You are fire; enkindle in me your love.

You are light; enlighten my mind with the knowledge of eternal things.

You are the Dove; 
give me innocence of life.

You are the gentle Breeze; 
disperse the storms of my passions.

You are the Tongue; 
teach me how to bless you always.

You are the Cloud; 
shelter me under the shadow of your protection.

And lastly,  You are the Giver of all heavenly gifts; 
animate me,

I beseech you, with your grace; 
sanctify me

with your charity; 
enlighten me

with your wisdom; 
adopt me by your goodness as your child,

and save me in your infinite mercy;

so that I may ever bless you, praise you, and love you;

first during this life on earth,

and then in heaven for all eternity.

Amen.

St. 
Alphonsus Liguori

 

Enjoy this wonderful feast!

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

doveHoly Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favours, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervour, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.

Grant me  the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.

Amen.

alphonsus adoring

In this picture we see St Alphonsus lovingly adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

O my dear Jesus, what can you do to make me love You? 

Make me understand what an excess of love you have shown me by reducing Yourself to food,

in order to unite Yourself to poor sinners! 

You, my dear Redeemer, have so much affection for me,

that you have not refused to give Yourself again and again entirely to me in Holy Communion. 

And yet I have had the courage to drive You away from my soul on so many occasions! 

You do not despise a humble and contrite heart. 

You became human for my sake. 

You died for me. 

You even went so far as to become my food. 

What more can there remain for You to do in order to gain my love? 

Oh, that I could die with grief every time that I remember that I have despised Your grace. 

I repent, O my love, with my whole heart for having offended you. 

I love You, O infinite goodness!  I love You, O infinite love! 

I desire nothing but to love You, and I fear nothing but to live without your love. 

My beloved Jesus, do not refuse to come to me. 

Come, because I would rather die a thousand times than drive You away again. 

I will do all that I can to please You. 

Come and inflame my whole soul with Your love. 

Grant that I may forget everything, to think only of You,

and to desire You alone,

my sovereign and my only good.

Prayer composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori

[St.+Alphonsus+Liguori.jpg]

In a word, the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity have endeavoured to show the love which God has borne us, that we may love him through gratitude.

 It is, then, but just that we love that God who has been the first to love us, and to put us under so many obligations by so many proofs of tender love.

 

 

“Let us, therefore, love God, because God first hath loved us." (1 John iv. 19.)

 

 

Oh! what a treasure is charity! it is an infinite treasure, because it makes us partakers of the friendship of God.

 

 

She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God." (Wis. vii. 14.)

 

But, to acquire this treasure, it is necessary to detach the heart from earthly things.

 

“Detach the heart from creatures," says St. Teresa, "and you shall find God."

 

In a heart filled with earthly affections, there is no room for divine love.

 

 

Let us therefore continually implore the Lord in our prayers, communions, and visits to the blessed sacrament, to give us his holy love; for this love will expel from our souls all affections for the things of this earth.

When," says St. Francis de Sales, ”a house is on fire, all that is within is thrown out through the windows."

 

 

By these words the saint meant, that when a soul is inflamed with divine love, s/he easily detaches him/herself from creatures: and Father Paul Segneri, the younger, used to say,

 

that divine love is a thief that robs us of all earthly affections, and makes us exclaim:

”What, O my Lord, but thee alone, do I desire ?"

 

Homily preached by St Alphonsus Liguori 

Prayer of Saint Alphonsus to the Holy Spirit

 

You made Mary full of grace and inflamed the hearts of the apostles with a holy zeal.

 

R. Inflame our hearts with your love

 

You are the spirit of goodness

 

R. Give us the courage to confront evil

 

You are fire

 

R Set us ablaze with your love

 

You are light

 

R. Enlighten our minds, that we may see what is truly important

 

You are the dove

 

R Give us gentleness

 

You are a soothing breeze

 

R. Bring calm to the storms that rage within us

 

You are the tongue

 

R. May our lips ever sing God's praises

 

You are the cloud

 

R. Shelter us under the shadow of your protection

 

O Holy Spirit, melt the frozen, warm the chilled, and enkindle in us an earnest desire to please you.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

 

 

 

 

Novena for Christmas

 

Written by St Alphonsus Liguori CSsR

Founder, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 

The Novena for Christmas is given in full below. To quickly get to the current Day click on the Meditation number/ Date.

 

Meditation 1 - December 16th   The love that God has shown to us in becoming human.

Meditation 2 - December 17th   The love of God in being born as an infant.

Meditation 3 - December 18th     The life of poverty which Jesus lived, even from his birth.

Meditation 4 - December 19th   The life of humility which Jesus lived, even from his infancy.

Meditation 5 - December 20th   The life of sorrow which Jesus lived, even from his birth.

Meditation 6 - December 21st   The mercy of God in coming from heaven to save us by his death.

Meditation 7 - December 22nd   The journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt.

Meditation 8 - December 23rd   The sojourn of the Infant Jesus in Egypt and Nazareth.

Meditation 9 - December 24th The birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem

 

 

Meditation One

 

DECEMBER 16

The love that God has shown to us in becoming human.

 

Think about the great love God has shown us by becoming human in order to obtain eternal life for us.

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God and were driven out of paradise. As a result, they and all of us, their descendants, were condemned to everlasting death. But the Son of God, grieving because humanity was lost, took upon himself our human flesh. Then, in order to save us from death, he died on a cross, condemned as a criminal. 

 

We might imagine God the Father saying to his Son,

 

“My child, consider the hardships you will have to undergo while on earth. You will be born in a cold cave, with no place to be laid except in the trough where animals come to feed. As an infant, you will have to flee to Egypt to escape the hands of Herod. After returning, you will have to live in a workshop as a poor, humble servant. And nally, worn out by sufferings, you will have to give up your life, dying on a cross, insulted and forsaken by all.

 

And Jesus would respond

 

Father, it does not matter. I am happy to endure whatever comes, provided that humanity is saved.”

 

How would we react if a millionaire took compassion on a dead worm and chose to become a worm himself, offering his own blood as a transfusion, and died in order to restore life to the other worm? Yet the eternal Word has done even more than that for us. God, the Creator, has become like us, one of his own creatures, to share in our human life, so that we can share once again in his divine life. When God realized that all the natural gifts he had bestowed on us could not win our love for him, he became one of us and gave himself entirely to us.

 

The Word became flesh, and lived among us”(John 1:14a).

 

Through sin, humanity separated itself from God. But God, because of his great love for us, came from heaven to seek us. Why? In order that we might realize how much God loves us, and in gratitude love God in return. Any time a cat or a dog comes to us from across the room, we can’t help but respond by petting it and speaking to it. So why do we ignore God, who comes to us all the way from heaven?

 

Once, when a priest proclaimed the words, “and the Word became flesh,” someone in the church neglected to make a proper reverence. This prompted the devil to give that person a blow, saying, “Oh, ungrateful one! If only God had done for me what he has done for you, I would remain with my head always bowed down in thanksgiving.”

 

Affections and Prayers

 

Son of God, you became human in order to make yourself lovable to us. But where is the love that we should have for you in return? After all, you have given your life to save us. Yet, why are we so indifferent to your presence? I admit that I myself have not always paid attention to you, your love, or your gifts. But your birth, your death and Resurrection, the gift of Eucharist, provide me with hope. Forgive the times that I have failed to acknowledge your influence in my life.

 

I love you, O Incarnate Word. I love you, O my God. I love you, O Infinite Goodness. And I ask forgiveness for all the sins that I have committed, large and small, public or private. I wish that I could die for you.

 

Dear Jesus, give me the gift of love for you. Let me never again feel complacent over the trials you endured for me. I want to love you always. Give me perseverance in loving you.

 

O Mary, Mother of God and my mother too, obtain for me from your son the grace to love him always, even unto death.

 

Meditation Two

 

DECEMBER 17

The love of God in being born as an infant.

 

The Son of God, in becoming human for our sake, might have appeared in the world at the age of a grown man, the way Adam appeared when he was created. But since children usually attract greater love to themselves from those who take care of them, Jesus chose to appear on earth as an infant; and as the poorest and most miserable infant ever born.

 

Saint Peter Chrysologous wrote: “Our God chose to be born this way because he wanted to be loved.” The prophet Isaiah had already predicted that the Son of God was to be born an infant and give himself entirely to us through the love he bore for us:  A child is born to us, a son is given to us (Isaiah 9:6a).

 

O my Jesus, almighty and true God, what else could possibly have attracted you to come from heaven and be born in a cave, if not your love for us?

 

What convinced you to leave the lap of your Father and lay yourself down in a manger?

What drew you down from your throne above the stars to stretch yourself out on a little pile of straw?

What, from the midst of the nine choirs of angels, has placed you between these sheep and oxen?

 

 

You inflame the seraphim with holy fire, yet look, you tremble from the cold in this stable! You give the sun, the stars, and the planets their paths of movement, yet now you cannot move at all without being carried in someone’s arms!

 

You provide food for all creatures, and yet now you depend on a little milk to sustain your life. You are the delight of heaven, and yet how is it that I now hear you whimper and cry? Tell me, who has reduced you to such lowliness? “Who has done this? Love has done it,” says Saint Bernard. Yes, the love that you have for us has done it.

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O dearest Infant, tell me what you came on earth to do. Tell me whom you are seeking. Ah, yes, I now understand…you have come to die for me, a lost sheep, in order that I may no more hide from you, but love you. O Jesus, my treasure, my life, my love, my all, if I do not love you, then whom shall I love? Where can I find a mother or father, a friend, or a spouse more loving than you? And who has ever loved me more than you have? I am sorry that I have lived so many years in this world and yet still love you so little, even having offended you and sometimes forgotten you.

 

Forgive me, O my beloved Redeemer, for I regret that I have ever treated you so badly. I am sorry with all my heart. Forgive me, and give me your grace so that I may never again separate myself from you, and so that I may love you constantly for the rest of my life. O my love, I give myself to you entirely. Accept me, Lord, and do not reject me, even though I might deserve it.

 

O Mary, you are my advocate. You always obtain whatever you ask from your son. Beg him to forgive me, and to help me persevere until death. 

 

Meditation Three

 

DECEMBER 18

The life of poverty which Jesus lived, even from his birth.

 

God planned that when his Son was to be born on earth an edict would be promulgated by the emperor, obliging the head of every household to go to the place of his birth and register. And so, Joseph had to go with his wife to Bethlehem, to enrol according to the decree of Caesar. While there, Mary’s time of delivery arrived. Because she had been driven from all the other houses and even from the common shelter for poor people, she ended up spending the night in a cave, and there gave birth to the King of Heaven. It is true that Jesus would have been just as poor if he had been born in Nazareth. But at least there he would have had a dry room, a little fire, warm clothes, and a comfortable cradle. But no, he chose to be born in a cold cavern without a fire to warm him. He chose to have the livestock’s manger for his cradle, and a little prickly straw for his bedding, in order that he might experience what poor people have to experience

 

Let us enter that cave in Bethlehem, but let us enter with faith. If we go without faith we will see nothing but a poor infant, who moves us to compassion by seeing him so beautiful, but shivering with cold and crying from the itchiness of the straw on which he lies. But if we enter with faith, we will believe that this child is the Son of God, who loved us so much that he came down to earth and endured so much to pay for our sins. How could we not thank him and love him?

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O sweet infant, how can I be so ungrateful to you and offend you so often, knowing how much you have done for me? But the tears you cried, and the poverty you chose to endure out of love for me, give me hope in the forgiveness of all the sins that I have committed. I regret, my Jesus, that I have turned my back on you and on my sisters and brothers so often. I love you above all other things. You are my God and my all! From this day forward, you will be my only treasure and my only good. With Saint Ignatius of Loyola, I will say, “Give me your love, give me your grace, and I will be rich.” I wish for and I desire nothing else. You alone are sufficient for me, my Jesus, my life, my love.

 

O Mary, so close to Jesus, help me to be grateful for the gift of faith in your son. 

 

Meditation Four

 

DECEMBER 19

The life of humility which Jesus lived, even from his infancy.

 

All the clues that the angels gave the shepherds to help them find the Saviour, who had just been born, were marks of humility:This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).This is how you will find the newborn Messiah, the angel said. You will find him as an infant, wrapped in poor ragged clothes, in a stable, lying on straw in a manger for animals. That is how the King of Heaven, the Son of God, was born, because he came to destroy the pride that had been the cause of humanity’s spiritual ruin.

 

The prophets foretold that our Redeemer would be treated as the most wretched person on earth, and that he would be overwhelmed with insults. How much ridicule Jesus had to tolerate because of us! He was treated as a drunkard, as a magician, as a blasphemer, and a heretic. Think of how many insults he had to endure during his passion. He was abandoned by his own disciples. One of them even sold him for thirty pieces of silver, and another denied having ever known him. He was led through the streets bound like a criminal, scourged like a slave, treated like a madman, and mocked as a bogus king. He was struck, spit upon in the face, and finally he was put to death on a cross, suspended between two thieves. One would think that he had been the greatest lawbreaker the world had ever seen.

 

Saint Bernard commented that the noblest of all men, Jesus Christ, was treated like the most depraved person of all. “But, my Jesus,” he adds, “the more degraded you are, the more dear you are to me.” The more humbled and despised he appears, the more esteemed and worthy of our love he becomes.

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O sweet Saviour, you have embraced so much disgrace for love of me, and yet I cannot bear a word of insult without immediately thinking of revenge—I, who often deserve to be trampled underfoot by all those whom I have harmed. I am ashamed of appearing before you, such an arrogant sinner that I am. O Lord, do not drive me from your presence, as I deserve. You have promised that you cannot condemn a heart that repents and humbles itself. I regret all the offences I have ever committed against you or against my neighbour. Forgive me, Jesus, for I will not offend you or anyone else ever again. You have put up with so many wounds for my sake. For your sake, I will bear all the difficulties that may come my way.

 

I love you, my Jesus; you who endured such evil for my sake. I love you, my Good, above every other good. Give me your help, that I may always love you and that I may endure every trial for love of you.

 

O Mary, recommend me to your son. Pray to Jesus for me.

 

Meditation Five

 

DECEMBER 20

The life of sorrow which Jesus lived, even from his birth.

 

Jesus could have saved us without suffering and without dying. But he willingly chose a life full of tribulations to show how much he loved us. The prophet Isaiah called him the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) because the life of Christ was to be full of woe. His passion did not begin at the time of his death, but from the beginning of his life.

 

Imagine Jesus, as soon as he was born, lying in a stable, where everything caused distress for him. His sight was troubled because he could see nothing in that cave but dark, rough walls. His sense of smell was haunted by the stench of dung from the animals lying nearby. His skin was irritated by the itchy straw that served as his bed. Soon after birth, he was forced to flee to Egypt, where he lived several years of his childhood, poor, and despised as a foreigner. The life he led afterward in Nazareth was not much better. Then consider how his life ended in Jerusalem, dying in anguish on a cross.

 

So the life of Jesus was one of continual anxiety—even worse than that, because he had constantly before his eyes all the sadness that would be his on the day of his death. One day a nun, complaining before the crucifix, said to him, “O Lord, you remained on the cross for three hours, but I have suffered my pain for several years.” Jesus answered her, “What you have said shows how unaware you are. I suffered even from my mother’s womb all the pains of my life and death.” But because Jesus voluntarily chose those afflictions, they did not hurt him as much as did the sight of our sins and our ingratitude for his great love. One particular saint could never stop lamenting over the offenses she committed against God. Her confessor said to her, “Cease crying. God has already forgiven you.” But she replied, “How can I cease crying when I know that my sins kept Jesus in a state of agony all his life?”

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O my sweet Love, did my sins keep you in a state of agony during all of your earthly life? Then, tell me what I can do so that you will forgive me, for I will leave nothing undone. I regret all the offenses I have ever committed against you, O my greatest Good. I repent, and I love you more than I love myself. I feel a great desire to love you. You have given me this desire, so now give me the strength to love you even more intensely. It is only just that I, who have offended you so much, should also love you so much. Remind me constantly of the love you have for me, so that my soul may always burn with love for you, and so that I may think of you alone, desire you alone, and strive to please you alone.

 

O God of Love, I was once a slave to this world. But now I give myself entirely to you. Accept me in your mercy, and from this day forward bind me with your love, O Jesus. I will love you while I live, and in loving you, I will die.

 

O Mary, my mother and my hope, help me to love Jesus. This alone is the favour I desire and ask from you.

  

Meditation Six

 

DECEMBER 21

The mercy of God in coming from heaven to save us by his death.

 

Saint Paul says the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared (Titus 3:4). It was then, when the Son of God made man appeared on earth, that we saw how great the goodness of God is toward us. Saint Bernard wrote that the power of God first appeared through the creation of the world, and sustaining the world has shown God’s wisdom. But God’s mercy appeared to an even greater degree when God took human flesh to save lost humanity by his sufferings and death. And what greater mercy could the Son of God have shown us than to take upon himself the pains we have deserved?

 

Imagine him as a newborn infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, unable to move or feed himself. Just to survive, he relied on Mary to feed him with a little milk. Imagine him many years later, in the judgment hall before Pilate, bound to a column by ropes from which he could not loosen himself, and scourged from head to foot. Imagine him on the journey to Calvary, falling down as he went along the road, from weakness, and from the weight of the cross that he carried. Finally, imagine him nailed to that infamous tree upon which he finished his life, in agony and suffering.

 

Jesus Christ wished to gain all the endearments of our hearts by his love for us, and therefore he would not send an angel to redeem us, but came himself, to save us by his passion and Resurrection. If an angel had been our redeemer we would have a divided heart—loving God as our creator and the angel as our redeemer. But because God, who is our Creator, wants our whole heart, he chose to also be our Redeemer.

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O my Redeemer, where would I now be if you had not shown me so much patience, but instead had condemned me to death while I was still in sin? Since you have waited for me, O Jesus, forgive me now and quickly, before death surprises me while I am still guilty of so many offenses against you. I regret, O my greatest Good, having ignored your Word and your commands. I feel like I could die of shame over my sins. But I also know that you cannot ever forsake anyone who seeks you. If I have failed you in any serious way in my life, I resolve from now on to seek only you, and to love only you.

 

Yes, dear God, I love you above all things. I love you more than I love myself. Help me, Lord, to love you always for the rest of my entire life. I ask for nothing more, and I trust that you will grant it.

 

Mary, my hope, please pray for me; for if you do, I am certain to receive God’s grace.

 

Meditation Seven

 

DECEMBER 22 

The journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt.

 

The Son of God came from heaven to save humanity. But no sooner was he born, than they began to persecute him, even unto death. Herod, afraid that this Infant would take away his kingdom, tried to put the child to death. So in a dream, an angel advised Saint Joseph to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt. Informing Mary, Joseph promptly obeyed. He took along with him the tools of his trade that he had available, to use in providing a livelihood for himself and his poor family while in Egypt. For her part, Mary packed a small bag of clothes for the holy Infant. Then, drawing near the crib with tears, she said to her sleeping child, “O my son and my God, you have come down from heaven to save humanity, yet hardly after you are born they already seek to take away your life.”

 

That very night, still crying, she took the baby Jesus, and she and Joseph set off on their journey.

 

Think about how much these lonely pilgrims must have suffered while making such a long journey, deprived of every comfort. The infant was not yet able to walk, so Mary and Joseph had to take turns carrying him in their arms. During the journey through the desert of Egypt, their only bed at night was the bare earth in the open air. The Infant wept in the cold, and Joseph and Mary also wept out of compassion for him. Who would not weep, after all, seeing the Son of God, poor and persecuted, wandering about on the earth so that he would not be killed by his enemies?

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O dearest infant Jesus, I hear you cry. And you ought to cry, being neglected by your very own creatures whom you love so much!

 

O my God, I have also neglected you and sinned against you. But now I resolve to love you even more than I love myself. And there can be no sorrow greater than that which I suffer, recalling how I have ignored you, my greatest Good. Please forgive me, my Jesus, and allow me to carry you in my heart during the rest of my life’s journey, so that I may enter eternity with you as an essential part of my life.

 

I have so often turned away from you through sin. From now on I will love you above all other things. I repent of all the ways I have ever ignored or offended you by hurting someone else.

 

My beloved Lord, I will never ignore you again. Give me strength to resist temptations. Do not allow me to turn from you. I would rather die than do something that offends you or my neighbour.

 

O Mary, my hope, help me to live always in response to God’s love

 

Meditation Eight

 

DECEMBER 23

The sojourn of the Infant Jesus in Egypt and Nazareth.

 

Our blessed Redeemer spent his infancy in Egypt, living there for seven years in poverty and contempt. Joseph and Mary were unknown there, with neither relatives nor friends. And they could scarcely earn enough to get by through the labour of their hands. Their cottage was poor, their bed was poor, and their food was poor. In this humble hut, Mary weaned Jesus. At first she fed him from her breast. Later on, she took a little bread soaked in water and placed it in his mouth. It was in that cottage that she made his first little garment, taking off his swaddling clothes and dressing him in regular ones. In that cottage, the child Jesus took his first steps, although he kept faltering and toppling many times, just as other children do. There, also, he uttered his first words, but with hesitation.

 

Imagine what God has reduced himself to for love of us! God, stumbling and falling as he walked! God, stammering while he spoke!

 

The life Jesus led at the house in Nazareth after his return from Egypt was much the same: poor and humiliating. Until age thirty, he was a simple shop boy, obeying Joseph and MaryAnd he was obedient to them (Luke 2:51).Jesus went to fetch water; Jesus opened and closed the shop; Jesus swept the house; he gathered wood for the fire, and worked all day helping Joseph.

 

Imagine God living as a boy! God sweeping the floor! God sweating as he planed a piece of wood! And who was he? The all-powerful God, who with a simple nod created the whole universe, and who could destroy it just as easily if he wished! Should not the mere thought of this move our hearts to love him?

 

How inspiring it must have been to watch the devotion with which Jesus said his prayers, the patience with which he laboured, the haste in which he obeyed, the moderation he used in eating, and the kindness and charity with which he spoke and interacted with others! Every word, every action of Jesus was so virtuous that it filled everyone around him with love for God—but especially Mary and Joseph, who were constantly with him!

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O Jesus, my Saviour! I realize that you, who are my God, lived for many years unknown and looked down upon in poverty because of your love for me. How, then, can I desire the pleasures, honours, and riches of the world? Although they are not bad things, I renounce them all, and I want to be your companion here on earth—poor like you, humble like you, and despised like you. Then I hope to one day enjoy your company in heaven. After all, what can the kingdoms or the treasures of earth amount to? My Jesus, you will be my only treasure, my only Good.

 

I greatly regret the many times in the past that I have disregarded your friendship while satisfying my own desires. Now I repent with all my heart. From now on, I would be willing to die a thousand times over rather than destroy my relationship with you. My God, I want to offend you no more. I want to love you always. Help me be faithful to you for the rest of my life.

 

Sweet Mary! You are the refuge of sinners. You are my hope.  

 

Meditation Nine

 

DECEMBER 24

The birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem.

 

Since the Roman emperor’s edict said that everyone was to enrol in his own country, Joseph and his wife, Mary, departed for Bethlehem. The trip took four days, traveling over mountainous roads in the cold of winter wind and rain. Think of how much the Blessed Virgin must have suffered on that journey.

 

As soon as they arrived, the time of her delivery was at hand, so Joseph went around the town looking for lodging where Mary could give birth to her child. But, because they were poor, they were driven away by everyone, even from the inn where poor people were normally sheltered. So they left the town and found a cave. As Mary entered, Joseph protested, saying, “My dear wife, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp place? Can’t you see that this is a stable for animals?” But she answered, “Joseph, this shed is the royal palace where the Son of God chooses to be born.”

 

And since the time for the birth had arrived, the Holy Virgin was in prayer. Suddenly the cave became brilliantly lit, as if by the sun or a star, and the Son of God came forth into the world as a tender infant, crying and trembling with cold. The first thing Mary did was to adore him as her God. Then she held him to her bosom, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes that she had brought along. Finally, she laid him on a little straw in the manger.

 

That is how the Son of the eternal God chose to be born for love of us.

 

A saint once said that those who love Jesus Christ most ought to kneel at the feet of the Holy Child and, in spirit, perform for him the same service as the beasts in the stable at Bethlehem who warmed him with their breath. We should warm him with our sighs of love.

 

Affections and Prayers

 

O tiny Infant! I would not be so bold as to lie at your feet, except that you yourself have invited me to come near. My sins have caused you to cry so many tears while in your stable at Bethlehem. But since you have come to earth to forgive repentant sinners, please forgive me, also. I regret with all my heart having ignored you so often.

 

You give so many great graces to everyone on this holy night. Bring peace to my soul and to the world. The one gift I ask this Christmas is the grace to love you forever with my whole heart. Inflame me, Lord, with your love!

 

I do love you, O God, who has become a mere child for me. Never let me stop loving you.

 

Mary, my mother, God will do all things you ask in prayer. Pray to Jesus for me.

 

Bishop Eton-crib

 

 

Prayer and Promise to St. Joseph

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Prayer and Promise to St. Joseph

By St. Alphonsus Liguori

 

O Holy Patriarch, I rejoice with you at the exalted dignity by which you were deemed worthy to act as father to Jesus, to give Him orders and to be obeyed by Him whom Heaven and earth obey.

I choose you, after Mary, to be my chief advocate and protector.

 I promise to honour you every day by some special act of devotion and by placing myself under thy daily protection. By that sweet company which Jesus and Mary gave you in your lifetime, I beseech you to protect me all through life, so that I may never separate myself from my God by losing His grace.

My dear St Joseph pray to Jesus for me.

 

Certainly He can never refuse you anything, as He obeyed all your orders while on earth.

Tell Him to detach me from all creatures and from myself, to inflame me with His holy love,

and then do with me what he pleases.

 

And by that assistance which Jesus and Mary gave you at death, I beg of you to protect me in a special way at the hour of my death, so that dying, assisted by you, in the company of Jesus and Mary, I may go to thank you in paradise, and in your company praise my God for all eternity. Amen.

 

 Prayer to Our Lady

 

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Prayer by St Alphonsus 

Most holy Virgin Immaculate,
my Mother Mary,
to you who are the Mother of my Lord,
the Queen of the Universe,
the Advocate,
the hope,
the refuge of sinners,
I who am the most miserable of all sinners,
have recourse this day.
I venerate you,
great queen,
and I thank you for the many graces
you have bestowed upon me
even unto this day;

I love you, my dearest Lady;
and because of that love,
I promise to serve you willingly for ever
and to do what I can
to make you loved by others also.

I place in you all my hopes for salvation;
accept me as your servant
and shelter me under your mantle,
you who are the Mother of Mercy.
And since you are so powerful with God,
deliver me from all temptations,
or at least obtain for me
the strength to overcome them until death.

From you I implore a true love for Jesus Christ.
Through you I hope to die a holy death.
My dear Mother,
by your love for Almighty God,
I pray you to assist me always,
but most of all at the last moment of my life.
Forsake me not then,
until you shall see me safe in heaven,
there to bless you
and sing of your mercies through all eternity.
Such is my hope.
Amen

Prayer to Obtain Final Perseverance

Eternal Father, I humbly adore Thee, and thank Thee for having created me, and for having redeemed me through Jesus Christ. I thank Thee most sincerely for having made me a Christian, by giving me the true faith, and by adopting me as Thy son, in the sacrament of baptism. I thank Thee for having, after the numberless sins I had committed, waited for my repentance, and for having pardoned (as I humbly hope) all the offences which I have offered to Thee, and for which I am now sincerely sorry, because they have been displeasing to Thee, who art infinite goodness. I thank Thee for having preserved me from so many relapses, of which I would have been guilty if Thou hadst not protected me. But my enemies still continue, and will continue till death, to combat against me, and to endeavor to make me their slave. If Thou dost not constantly guard and succor me with thy aid, I, a miserable creature, shall return to sin, and shall certainly lose Thy grace. I beseech Thee, then, for the love of Jesus Christ, to grant me holy perseverance unto death. Jesus, Thy Son, has promised that Thou wilt grant whatsoever we ask in his name. Through the merits, then, of Jesus Christ, I beg, for myself and for all the just, the grace never again to be separated from Thy love, but to love Thee forever, in time and eternity. Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me. 
 
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

 

Meditation on the Blessed Sacrament

alphonsuseucharist


Meditation, wherever it is made,

pleases God.

But it seems that Jesus

especially delights in prayer

made before the Blessed Sacrament.

Did he not leave himself for us

in this sacrament

to be food for our spirit,

and to be present

for all who seek him?

 

We cannot all make pilgrimages

to the places where Jesus lived,

but the Lord who died for us

on the cross of Calvary

now dwells in person,

in the tabernacle – waiting.

We need not await a command

as we would of an earthly king,

to enter his presence –

He is waiting for us

to lay before him our wants

and to seek his help.

 

So that we may taste

the sweetness of his presence,

it is good to empty ourselves

of earthly desires.

 

   Be still and know

   That I am God. Psalm 46: 10

 

What pleasure is found in spending

a long time before the altar

where the Lord dwells!

What heavenly sweetness the Lord

allows us to taste and enjoy!

 

What should we do in the presence

of the Lord in the Eucharist?

We should stay there, not to enjoy

sweetness and consolation,

but to give pleasure to God

by making acts of love, saying

 

   O my God, I love

   and desire nothing but you.

   Grant that I may always love you;

   then do with me and all I possess

   as you please.

 

These acts of love,

even when made without sensible delight,

please god greatly.

For good people often have to bear

with distractions and dryness in prayer.

 

As for distractions,

of these we must not make much account.

It is enough to drive them away

when they come.

Do not on this account leave off prayer.

Saint Francis de Sales said:

 

   If, in meditation, we do nothing

   but drive away distractions,

   our meditation would be of great profit.

 

And as for dryness:

this is the greatest pain

for those given to prayer,

for we find ourselves without

any sensible desire of loving God.

Added to this, at times, is the fear

of being separated from God

because of our sins.

There is the feeling

of being in utter darkness

without any way of escape.

 

At such times let us unite our desolation

with that which Jesus suffered

on the cross.

If we can say nothing else,

it is enough to say,

at least by an act of the will:

 

   My God, I desire to love you.

   Have pity on me;

   Leave me not.

 

PRAYER of one in deep affliction.

 

My God, I love you tenderly

though I feel you far away.

I will seek you ceaselessly

lest from you I stray.

 AMEN.

 

Doctor Zelantissimus (Doctor Most Zealous)...

 

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St. Alphonsus Liguori’s

50 Maxims for Attaining 

Perfection in the Love of Jesus Christ

 

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

2. To make acts of love toward Jesus Christ.

Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep,

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 love 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 endeavor 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 honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.

18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all of 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 willful venial sin.

 + + +

21. 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.

 + + +

31. 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 neighbor 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 to speak kindly to him.

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

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

 + + +

41. To look upon 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 employments.

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.

50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying,

“My Jesus, I desire to be all Thine, and Thou must be all mine.”

Litany of St Alphonsus
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We invite you to pray the following Litany of St Alphonsus...

Nobleman

who laid your sword at the feet of Our Lady of Ransom as a sign of your conversion….. 
pray for us!

Lawyer

whose mastery of civil and canon law foreshadowed your advocacy of those condemned by Jansenism…. pray for us!

Hospital Minister

to the incurably ill, who learned compassion in service to others…. pray for us!

Preacher of Missions

who spread God’s tender love through street preaching and through the creation of an association of chapel storefronts….. pray for us!

Practical Organizer

who used your creative energy to spread the gospel, to feed the hungry, to found the Redemptorists, and to shepherd a diocese….. pray for us!

Chaplain

to the condemned on their last journey….. pray for us!

Artist

who used your gifts of imagination and painting to express your tenderest emotions toward Jesus Christ and His mother….. pray for us!

Musician

whose religious lyrics and melodies fill the households of Italy to this day….. pray for us!

Poet

whose affective verse and tender prayer touches the deepest emotions in people’s hearts….. pray for us!

Man of Letters

whose pamphlets and books reveal in simple language the good news of God’s redeeming love….. pray for us!

Mystic

who found God to be father, mother, sister, brother, lover, and dearest friend…. pray for us!

Spiritual Director

who gently encouraged sinners to repentance and prayer, and who deeply challenged good people to become saints…. pray for us!

Founder

of Redemptorist missionaries whose spirit lives in generations of Redemptorists, Redemptoristines, Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregations,and Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer….. pray for us!

Friend of the Poor

who shared all you had while living in need yourself…. pray for us!

Moral Theologian

whose principles have ensured freedom of conscience for those unjustly burdened by rigorism….. pray for us!

Superior General

who served your brothers on good days and bad….. pray for us!

Bishop

who saw to the formation and education of priests and who took time to listen to the people of your diocese….. pray for us!

Saint

filled with the Spirit of God in spite of human weaknesses…. pray for us!

Doctor of the Church

who teaches us how to pray, to serve, to forgive, to love…. pray for us!

AMEN.

Sister Margaret M. O’Shea IHM

mothericonMary is our Mother — not by the flesh, but by love. That is, she is our Mother by love alone. So someone observes that she glories in being the mother of love. She is all love for us, her adopted children.

The first reason for Mary’s great love for human beings is that she loves God so much. She loved him more in the first moment of her existence than all the saints and angels every loved him or will love him.

Just as there is not one among all the blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving Mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary’s love for even a single soul.

Mary, to obtain the life of grace for us … offered her beloved Jesus to an ignominious death, and watched him die before her eyes in cruel and unexampled torments.

It is written of the Eternal Father, that God so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son (Jn 3:16), so also we can say of Mary, that she so loved the world as to give her only-begotten Son.

So with St. Anselm I will cry: “Let my heart languish and my soul melt away and be consumed with love of you, my beloved Savior Jesus and my dear Mother Mary! But because I cannot love you unless you give me grace, then give me grace, O Jesus and Mary — by your merits, not mine — to love you as you deserve to be loved. O God, lover of humankind, you loved sinful human beings to the point of death. Will you deny your love and your Mother’s to anyone who begs for it?”

— Excerpted from The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori

 

 

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Mary sings, the ravished heavens 
Hush the music of their spheres; 
Soft her voice, her beauty fairer 
Than the glancing stars appears; 
While to Jesus, slumbering nigh, 
Thus she sings her lullaby: 

"Sleep, my Babe, my God, my Treasure, 
Gently sleep; but ah! the sight 
With its beauty so transports me, 
I am dying with delight; 
Thou canst not Thy mother see, 
Yet Thou breathest flames to me. 

"If within your lids unfolded, 
Slumbering eyes, Thou seemest so fair; 
When upon my gaze Thou doth open, 
How shall I Thy beauty bear? 
Ah! I tremble when Thou wakes, 
Lest my heart with love should break. 

Cheeks than sweetest roses sweeter, 
Mouth where lurks a smile Divine, 
Though the kiss my Babe should waken, 
I must press those lips to mine. 
Pardon, Dearest, if I say 
Mother's love will take no nay." 

As she ceased, the gentle Virgin
Clasped the Infant to her breast, 
And, upon His radiant forehead 
Many a loving kiss impressed. 
Jesus woke and on her face 
Fixed a look of heavenly grace. 

Ah! that look, those eyes, that beauty, 
How they pierce the Mother's heart! 
Shafts of love from every feature 
Through her gentle bosom dart. 
Heart of stone! can I behold 
Mary's love, and still be cold? 

Where, my soul, thy sense, thy reason? 
When will these delays be o'er? 
All things else, how fair so ever, 
Are but smoke: resist no more! 
Yes! 'tis done! I yield my arms 
Captive to those double charms.

If, alas, O heavenly beauty! 
Now so late those charms I learn, 
Now at least, and ever, ever 
With thy love my heart will burn, 
For the Mother and the Child, 
Rose and Lily undefiled. 

Plant and fruit, and fruit and blossom, 
I am theirs, and they are mine;
For no other prize I labor, 
For no other bliss I pine. 
Love can every pain requite, 
Love alone is full delight.

 

St Alphonsus' Morning Meditation for Christmas Day.

Let every soul, then, enter the Cave of Bethlehem.
 
Behold and see that tender infant, who is weeping as he lies in the manger on that miserable straw.
 
See how beautiful he is: look at the light which he sends forth, and the love that he breathes;
those eyes send out arrows which wound the hearts that desire him;
the very stable, the very straw cry our and tell you to love him who loves you;
to love God who is infinite love, and who came down from heaven, and made himself a little child, and became poor, to make you understand the love he bears for you.
 
 
mary_and_baby_jesus
Come and say to him
'Ah beautiful Infant! Tell me whose child art Thou?"
He replies; "My Mother is this pure and lovely Virgin who is standing by me."
 
"And who is Thy Father?" "My Father," he says, "is God."
 
"How is this? Thou art the Son of God, and art so poor, and why?
Who will acknowledge Thee in such a condition?  Who will respect Thee?"
 
"Ah," replies Jesus, "holy faith will make know who I am, and will make Me loved by those whose souls I come to redeem and to inflame in my love."
 
I am not come, says He, to make myself feared, but to make myself loved;
and therefore I wished to show myself to you for the first time as a poor and humble infant, that, seeing to what my love for you has reduced me, you might love me the more.................
 
 
stpatscrib
 
 
Come, then, O all ye devout souls.  
 
Jesus invites you to come and kiss his feet this night.
 
The Shepherds who came to visit him in the stable of Bethlehem brought their gifts;
 
you must also bring your gifts.
 
 
What will you bring him?
 
The most acceptable present you can bring him is that of a contrite and loving heart.

alphonsus10St Alphonsus is known as the patron of Arthritics as he suffered from the condition for many years.

St. Alphonsus, you are the special patron of all who suffer from arthritis and the pains of many years. When our fingers twist with pain, keep us focused on the hands of Christ pierced with nails.When our knees throb with endless aches,allow us to see the knees of Jesus smashing to the street under the heavy cross. When our backs stiffen with soreness, let us remember the back of Christ thrown across the cold, rough wood of the cross. When our hips, elbows, knuckles, and other joints hurt so much that tears well up in our eyes, help us to recall the tears, the sweat, and the blood that flowed from our crucified Jesus Who suffered so much more for each of us.

St. Alphonsus,you were afflicted with curvature of the spine and confined to a wheelchair in your final years.Teach us to unite all our pains with the sufferings of Jesus. By your intercession may our pains be eased - but even more, may we be one with Jesus in his death and resurrection for the redemption of the world.

 
Amen.