Monday, August 1, 2011


Prayer to Mary

O most holy, Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary, to Thee who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the Advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I, who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse today. I venerate Thee, O great Queen, and I thank Thee for all the graces Thou hast conferred on me until now, especially for having delivered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. I love Thee, O Most amiable Lady, and because of the love I bear Thee, I promise to serve Thee always and do all in my power to make Thee loved by others. I place in Thee all my hopes; I confide my salvation to Thy care. Accept me as Thy servant, and shelter me under Thy mantle, O Mother of Mercy. And since You are so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until my death.

Of Thee I ask a perfect love of Jesus Christ. From Thee I hope to die a good death. O Mary, my Mother, for the love You bear to God, I beg You to help me always, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech Thee, until Thou seest me safe in Heaven, blessing Thee and singing Thy mercies for all eternity. Amen. So I hope. So may it be.

St. Alphonsus Liguori


August 1, 2011

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori,
bishop and doctor of the Church

Nm 11:4b-15

The children of Israel lamented,
“Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt,
and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks,
the onions, and the garlic.
But now we are famished;
we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin.
When they had gone about and gathered it up,
the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar,
then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves,
which tasted like cakes made with oil.
At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.

When Moses heard the people, family after family,
crying at the entrance of their tents,
so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved.
“Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the Lord.
“Why are you so displeased with me
that you burden me with all this people?
Was it I who conceived all this people?
Or was it I who gave them birth,
that you tell me to carry them at my bosom,
like a foster father carrying an infant,
to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers?
Where can I get meat to give to all this people?
For they are crying to me,
‘Give us meat for our food.’
I cannot carry all this people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Responsorial Psalm
81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. Sing with joy to God our help.

“My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels.”

R. Sing with joy to God our help.

“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand.”

R. Sing with joy to God our help.

“Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me,
but their fate would endure forever,
While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”

R. Sing with joy to God our help.

Mt 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them,

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said,


Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him,

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.


August 1

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.

In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.

At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups.

He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.

Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions.

He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.

His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.

At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.

Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Let us rejoice in the Lord and extol him with songs.

– Let us rejoice in the Lord and extol him with songs.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

– Let us rejoice in the Lord and extol him with songs.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

– Let us rejoice in the Lord and extol him with songs.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

– Let us rejoice in the Lord and extol him with songs.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Let us rejoice in the Lord and extol him with songs.


Our limbs refreshed with slumber now,
And sloth cast off, in prayer we bow;
And while we sing thy praises dear,
O Father, be thou present here.
To thee our earliest morning song,
To thee our hearts’ full powers belong;
And thou, O Holy One prevent
Each following action and intent.
As shades at morning flee away,
And night before the star of day;
So each transgression of the night
Be purged by thee, celestial light!
Cut off, we pray Thee, each offence,
And every lust of thought and sense;
That by their lips who thee adore
Thou mayst be praised forevermore.
Grant this, O Father ever One
With Christ, thy sole-begotten Son,
And Holy Ghost, whom all adore,
Reigning and blest forevermore.

Trustful prayer in time of adversity
Psalm 30 (31)

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

In you, Lord, I put my trust: may I never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free,
Turn your ear to me,
make haste to rescue me.
Be my rampart, my fortification;
keep me safe.
For you are my strength and my refuge:
you will lead me out to the pastures,
for your own name’s sake.
You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me –
for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit:
you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
You hate those who run after vain nothings;
but I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your kindness,
for you have looked on me, lowly as I am.
You saw when my soul was in need:
you did not leave me locked in the grip of the enemy,
but set my feet on free and open ground.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.
Psalm 30 (31)

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Take pity on me, Lord, for I am troubled:
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
the very centre of my being is disturbed.
For my life is worn out with distress,
my years with groaning;
my strength becomes weakness,
my bones melt away.
I am a scandal and a disgrace,
so many are my enemies;
to my friends and neighbours,
I am a thing to fear.
When they see me in the street,
they run from me.
I have vanished from their minds as though I were dead,
or like a pot that is broken.
I know this – for I have heard the scolding of the crowd.
There is terror all around,
for when they come together against me
it is my life they are resolved to take.
But I put my trust in you, Lord;
I say: “You are my God,
my fate is in your hands.”
Tear me from the grip of my enemies,
from those who hound me;
let your face shine upon your servant,
in your kindness, save me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.
Psalm 30 (31)

Blessed be the Lord, who has shown me the wonders of his love.

How very many are the pleasures, Lord,
that you have stored up for those who fear you.
You have made these things ready for those who trust in you,
to give them in the sight of all men.
Far away from the plottings of men
you hide them in your secret place.
You keep them safe in your dwelling-place
far from lying tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has shown me his wonderful kindness
within the fortified city.
In my terror, I said
“I am cut off from your sight”;
but you heard the voice of my prayer
when I called to you.
Love the Lord, all his chosen ones.
The Lord keeps his faithful ones safe,
heaps rich revenge on the arrogant.
Be brave, let your hearts be strong,
all who trust in the Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Blessed be the Lord, who has shown me the wonders of his love.
Guide me in your truth, Lord, and teach me;
– for you are my God and my salvation.

Amos 2:4-16

The Lord says this:

For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Judah
I have made my decree and will not relent:
because they have rejected the Law of the Lord
and failed to keep his precepts,
because the false gods which their ancestors followed
have led them astray,
I am going to hurl fire on Judah
to burn up the palaces of Jerusalem.

The Lord says this:

For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Israel
I have made my decree and will not relent:
because they have sold the virtuous man for silver
and the poor man for a pair of sandals,
because they trample on the heads of ordinary people
and push the poor out of their path,
because father and son have both resorted to the same girl,
profaning my holy name,
because they stretch themselves out by the side of every altar
on clothes acquired as pledges,
and drink the wine of the people they have fined
in the house of their god...
Yet it was I who overthrew the Amorites when they attacked,
men tall as cedars and strong as oaks,
I who destroyed them,
both fruit above ground
and root below.
It was I who brought you out of the land of Egypt
and for forty years led you through the wilderness
to take possession of the Amorite’s country.
I raised up prophets from your sons
and nazirites from your young men.
Is this not true, sons of Israel?
– it is the Lord who speaks.
But you have forced the nazirites to drink wine
and given orders to the prophets,
‘Do not prophesy.’
See then how I am going to crush you into the ground
as the threshing-sledge crushes when clogged by straw;
flight will not save even the swift,
the strong man will find his strength useless,
the mighty man will be powerless to save himself.
The bowman will not stand his ground,
the fast runner will not escape,
the horseman will not save himself,
the bravest warriors will run away naked that day.
It is the Lord who speaks.


I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, and I said: Their hearts are astray, these people do not know my ways.

I raised up some of your sons to be prophets, but you commanded them, saying: You shall not prophesy, and I said: Their hearts are astray, these people do not know my ways.

From a sermon by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, bishop

On the love of Christ

All holiness and perfection of soul lies in our love for Jesus Christ our God, who is our Redeemer and our supreme good. It is part of the love of God to acquire and to nurture all the virtues which make a man perfect.

Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: “O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, nor did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you.”

Since God knew that man is enticed by favours, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: “I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.” And all the gifts which he bestowed on man were given to this end. He gave him a soul, made in his likeness, and endowed with memory, intellect and will; he gave him a body equipped with the senses; it was for him that he created heaven and earth and such an abundance of things. He made all these things out of love for man, so that all creation might serve man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts.

But he did not wish to give us only beautiful creatures; the truth is that to win for himself our love, he went so far as to bestow upon us the fullness of himself. The eternal Father went so far as to give us his only Son. When he saw that we were all dead through sin and deprived of his grace, what did he do? Compelled, as the Apostle says, by the superabundance of his love for us, he sent his beloved Son to make reparation for us and to call us back to a sinless life.
By giving us his Son, whom he did not spare precisely so that he might spare us, he bestowed on us at once every good: grace, love and heaven; for all these goods are certainly inferior to the Son: He who did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for all of us: how could he fail to give us along with his Son all good things?


The Lord grants the desires of those who fear him, he hears their cry and he saves them. The Lord protects all who love him.

A child of God does not commit sin, because the divine seed remains in him. The Lord protects all who love him.

Let us pray.

Lord God, you never cease to give new saints to your Church as a pattern for holy living.
Help us to imitate Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls, that we may share his reward in heaven.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.