Category Archives: Saints

Encountering the Will of God: Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

Today is the feast of a great bishop, founder and doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus
St Alphonsus.jpgLigouri (1696-1787). The saint’s spiritual, dogmatic, liturgical and systematic writings are remarkable sources of inspiration and challenge. Little recognized but nontheless true is Saint Alphonsus was a poet and a musician. After all, the saint is from Naples! It is reported that Giuseppe Verdi said of St. Alphonsus’ great Christmas carol: “Christmas without ‘Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle’ is not Christmas.” 


Among the writings that you’ll find helpful are his Way of the Cross, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, The Moral Theology and The Glories of Mary.


For our lectio I propose the following:


Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: “Charity is the bond of perfection”; and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s: “The principal effect of love is so to unite the wills of those who love each other as to make them will the same things.” It follows then, that the more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God. Mortification, meditation, receiving Holy Communion, acts of fraternal charity are all certainly pleasing to God but only when they are in accordance with his will. When they do not accord with God’s will, he not only finds no pleasure in them, but he even rejects them utterly and punishes them.


Conformity to God’s Will
St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri


O God, Who did inflame blessed Alphonsus Your confessor and Bishop with a burning zeal for the salvation of souls and through him did enrich Your Church with new offspring; grant we beseech You, that imbued with his wholesome precepts and strengthened by his example, we may come happily unto You.

Venturing into Life

Today is the feast of the Saint James the Greater. The Venerable Servant of God John Henry Newman reminds us in his Parochial and Plain Sermons that St. James’ acceptance of risk in following the Lord unto his death was a vow recorded in heaven. How could he not respond positively to the question the Lord posed, “Are you able to drink from the cup I will give you?” James’ answer, like that of Peter’s, was little understood because he had no true idea of what was in store. Namely, that he’d be the first to die by the sword in Jerusalem. The faith James had was exceptional; it was a faith born in the trust in the person of Jesus Christ; it was a faith based on the encounter with such an exceSt James.jpgptional Presence that offered more to life than mending nets.


When it comes to us, I am afraid that we are often too zealous for the wrong in life and insincere in things that matter. Do we confine ourselves to the idea of truth without risking the implications what believing really could mean? Are bromides that only thing we can remember? Can we follow James’ example who said, “Come, Lord Jesus,” at the end of the day conforming all of our desires and hopes, joys and sufferings to the Lord’s Will and thus making a venture that would allow us to live with Him forever? Or is eternal life too hard to grasp, too weird to accept as part of the promised hundred-fold?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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