Thursday, 26 September 2019

St. Alphonsus de liguori: When you are afflicted with sickness, persecution, temptation, or any other trouble, turn at once to God and

ask His help. It is enough for you to lay your affliction before Him—to go to Him and say: ‘Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress’ (Lamentations 1:20). He will not fail to comfort you, or at least to give you strength to suffer the trial with patience, and in this case it will prove a greater good than if He had freed you altogether from it. Tell Him of all the things that make you fear, or make you sad, and say to Him: ‘My God, in You are all my hopes. I offer this cross to You. I resign myself to Your will. Take pity on me and either deliver me from my trial or give me strength to endure it.’ He will remember immediately the promise which He made in the Gospel, of consoling and comforting all those who have recourse to Him in tribulation: ‘Come to Me all you that labour and are burdened and I will refresh you (Matthew 11:28). He will not be displeased if you seek comfort from your friends in the hour of trial; but He wishes you to have recourse principally to Him. At least, therefore, when you have had recourse to creatures and they have not been able to console your heart, go to your Creator and say to Him: ‘Lord, men have only words; they cannot afford me consolation. I no longer desire to be consoled by them. You alone are my hope; You alone my only love. By You alone do I desire to be comforted and the consolation I ask for, is to do on this occasion what is most pleasing to You. Behold, I am ready to endure this trial for the whole of my life, and for all eternity, if such be Your will. Only help me.’ Do not be afraid of offending Him if you sometimes gently complain, saying: ‘Why, Lord, have You retired afar off? (Psalm 10:1 in the Hebrew and in the Vulgate.) ‘Lord, You know that I love You, and that I desire nothing but Your love. Have pity on me and help me. Do not abandon me.’ If desolation should continue for a long time and grievously afflict you, unite your voice to the voice of your afflicted Jesus and say: ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’ (Matthew 28:46). Let the thought humble you that having offended God, you do not deserve His consolations. At the same time, remember that He permits every thing for your good, and do not lose confidence: ‘All things work together unto good to them that love God’ (Romans 8:28). Say with courage, even when you feel most troubled and disconsolate: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?’ (Psalm 27:1 in the Hebrew or, in the Vulgate, Psalm 26:1). Lord, You will guide me, You will save me; In You do I trust. In You, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded (Ecclesiasticus 2:11). Reflect that God loves you more than you can love yourself. Why, then, should you be afraid? David brought comfort to his heart saying: ‘The Lord is careful for me.’ (Psalm 40:17 in the Hebrew or, in the Vulgate, Psalm 39:18). Let such be your sentiments, too, when you pray; and speak in this manner to God: ‘Lord, I cast myself into Your arms; and I desire to think only of loving and pleasing You. Behold me ready to do what You ask of me. You do not only will my good, but You are “careful” for it. To You, then, I leave the care of my salvation. In You I rest, and will rest for evermore, since You will that in You I should place all my hopes’: ‘In peace, in the self-same I will sleep and I will rest; for You, O Lord, singularly have settled me in hope’ (Psalm 4:8 in the Hebrew or, in the Vulgate, Psalm 4:9–10) ‘Think of the Lord in goodness’ (Wisdom 1:1). In these words, the inspired writer exhorts us to have more confidence in the divine mercy than dread of the divine justice. For God is incomparably more inclined to bestow favours upon us than to chastise us, as Saint James says: ‘Mercy exalts itself above judgment’ (2:13). For this reason, Saint Peter exhorts us in all our fears—whether for our temporal or eternal interests—to abandon ourselves entirely to the goodness of God, who has the interests of our salvation at heart: ‘Casting all your care upon Him, for He has care of you’ (1 Peter 5:7). The royal prophet, David, has the same message of hope when he gives to God the beautiful title of our God and the God who is willing to save us: ‘Our God is the God of salvation.’ (Psalm 68:20 in the Hebrew or, in the Vulgate, Psalm 67:21). This means, as (Saint Robert) Bellarmine explains it, that it is the will of God, not to condemn, but to save all. He threatens with His displeasure those who despise Him; but He promises mercy to those who fear Him: in the words of the canticle of our Blessed Lady: ‘His mercy is from generation to generation to them that fear Him.’ I place before you, devout reader, all these passages from the sacred scriptures, so that if you are ever troubled by the doubt as to whether you will be saved or no—whether you are of the number of the predestined or no—you may take courage at the thought that you know from God’s Word that He desires to save you, if only you are resolved to serve and love Him as He asks of you.


“Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of Man.” —Saint Luke (21:36).