Thursday, March 20, 2014

"In this lentil season..."

 The legume in question

"In this Lenten season," as mispronounced at Mass today.   Could be accurate description, for those keeping a strict fast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lenten Wisdom from St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Crucifixion," Basilica of San Clemente, Rome (approx 1123 AD)

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696 AD - 1787 AD) was a lawyer who left that profession as a young man to become a priest.   St. Alphonsus would go on to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, popularly known as the Redemptorists, and also was appointed bishop of an Italian diocese.   Eventually, St. Alphonsus was not only canonized but also declared a Doctor of the Church.

Although St. Alphonsus lived a very long life, the volume of his published works is still staggering.  His "Ascetical Works" alone comprise 24 volumes, each one close to 500 pages in length, and each one packed with citations from scripture and the saints.   St. Alphonsus' training in law clearly shows in these works, as each is a relentless exercise in persuasion.  St. Alphonsus employs every conceivable argument in support of his propositions, so that a reader sometimes feels worn out by his pleadings.  However, St. Alphonsus is not concerned whether, like the widow in the parable of the unjust judge, he succeeds partly or even mainly through persistence.    St. Alphonsus's only care is to convince us, through a thousand arguments, of a single point: that God's love for each of us is infinite.

Of St. Alphonsus's Ascetical Works, perhaps the volume best suited for Lent is "The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ."  The following is taken from the Introduction:

"'He who desires," says St. Bonaventure, " to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus" . . . .

"St. Augustine also said that . . . . it was for this end that our Saviour suffered so much, in order that we should think of his sufferings; because if we think on them, it is impossible not to be inflamed with divine love."