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Friday, June 28, 2024

St. Alphonsus de Liguori and Uniformity with God’s Will in Our Troubled Times

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St. Alphonsus de Liguori and Uniformity with God’s Will in Our Troubled Times

St. Alphonsus de Liguori (1696-1787) did not endure the particular trials that persistently threaten to overwhelm us in 2024 — as we wonder what the globalists and Francis have in store for us next — but the saint’s holy wisdom on practicing “uniformity with God’s will” would have made him a saint in any age.

“Form the habit of offering yourself frequently to God by saying, ‘My God, behold me in thy presence; do with me and all that I have as thou pleasest.’ This was the constant practice of St. Teresa. At least fifty times a day she offered herself to God, placing herself at his entire disposition and good pleasure. How fortunate you, kind reader, if you too act thus! You will surely become a saint. Your life will be calm and peaceful; your death will be happy.” (St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Uniformity with God’s Will)

St. Alphonsus de Liguori (1696-1787) did not endure the particular trials that persistently threaten to overwhelm us in 2024 — as we wonder what the globalists and Francis have in store for us next — but the saint’s holy wisdom on practicing “uniformity with God’s will” would have made him a saint in any age. He, like all saints, knew that the key to life is to always strive to do God’s will. And, although it is easier said than done, if we follow St. Alphonsus’s wisdom today we too can become saints and have as much peace as possible in this life.

St. Alphonsus’s Uniformity with God’s Will is short enough to read in a few hours but so full of holy wisdom that the saint found nourishment from it even after he could no longer read it to himself in old age:

“Our Saint frequently read it himself and when his sight had failed he arranged to have it read to him by others.” (Cardinal Villecourt, as quoted in the pamphlet’s preface)

His words speak for themselves and, as beneficial as the following excerpts are, it is well worth the minuscule investment to obtain a copy (or several copies) of the small work to allow the saint to guide us both to Heaven and to as much peace as we can find in this life.

Differences Between Conformity and Uniformity with God’s Will. “If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to his divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us. Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more—it means that we make one will of God’s will and ours, so that we will only what God wills; that God’s will alone, is our will. This is the summit of perfection and to it we should always aspire; this should be the goal of all our works, desires, meditations and prayers. To this end we should always invoke the aid of our holy patrons, our guardian angels, and above all, of our mother Mary, the most perfect of all the saints because she most perfectly embraced the divine will.”

Benefits of Uniformity with God’s Will. “A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint. Behold while Saul was persecuting the Church, God enlightened him and converted him. What does Saul do? What does he say? Nothing else but to offer himself to do God’s will: ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ (Acts 13:22). In return the Lord calls him a vessel of election and an apostle of the gentiles: ‘This man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the gentiles.’ Absolutely ‘true—because he who gives his will to God, gives him everything. He who gives his goods in alms, his blood in scourgings, his food in fasting, gives God what he has. . . . We cannot offer God anything more pleasing than to say: Take us, Lord, we give thee our entire will. Only let us know thy will and we will carry it out.”

Not Only Holiness but Serenity. “Acting according to this pattern, one not only becomes holy but also enjoys perpetual serenity in this life. Alphonsus the Great, King of Aragon, being asked one day whom he considered the happiest person in the world, answered: ‘He who abandons himself to the will of God and accepts all things, prosperous and adverse, as coming from his hands.’ ‘To those that love God, all things work together unto good.’ Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God. Afflictions do not mar their serenity, because by accepting misfortune, they know they give pleasure to their beloved Lord: ‘Whatever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad.’ Indeed, what can be more satisfactory to a person than to experience the fulfillment of all his desires? This is the happy lot of the man who wills only what God wills, because everything that happens, save sin, happens through the will of God.”

If we can in some measure practice the “uniformity with God’s will” described by St. Alphonsus, we will find that there is no better time for us to live than now, for it is the time for which God created us.

Resignation to God’s Will in Adversity. “If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will. Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God’s will. For the future, embrace God’s good pleasure and say to him in every happening: ‘Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.’ (Matt. 27: 46). When anything disagreeable happens, remember it comes from God and say at once, ‘This comes from God’ and be at peace: ‘I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because thou hast done it.’ (Psalm 38:10). Lord, since thou hast done this, I will be silent and accept it. Direct all your thoughts and prayers to this end, to beg God constantly in meditation, Communion, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament that he help you accomplish his holy will.”

Embracing God’s Will in Adversity. “The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God’s will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God. St. John of Avila used to say: ‘One ‘Blessed be God’ in times of adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts of gratitude in times of prosperity.’”

God Does Not Will Sin, But He Wills the Effects. “It is true, when one offends us unjustly, God does not will his sin, nor does he concur in the sinner’s bad will; but God does, in a general way, concur in the material action by which such a one strikes us, robs us or does us an injury, so that God certainly wills the offense we suffer and it comes to us from his hands.”

Rising from Our Falls. “This means, as Rodriguez explains it, we should be diligent in striving to become perfect, so that tepidity and laziness may not serve as excuses for some to say: ‘God must help me; I can do only so much for myself.’ Nevertheless, when we do fall into some fault, we should not lose our peace of soul and union with the will of God, which permits our fall; nor should we lose our courage. Let us rise at once from this fall, penitently humbling ourselves and by seeking greater help from God, let us continue to march resolutely on the highway of the spiritual life. Likewise, we may well desire to be among the seraphs in Heaven, not for our own glory, but for God’s, and to love him more; still we should be resigned to his will and be content with that degree of glory which in his mercy he has set for us.”

Stop Delaying and Making Excuses. “Above all, let us bend all our energies to serve God in the way he wishes. This remark is made so that we may avoid the mistake of him who wastes his time in idle daydreaming. Such a one says, ‘If I were to become a hermit, I would become a saint’ or ‘If I were to enter a monastery, I would practice penance’ or ‘If I were to go away from here, leaving friends and companions, I would devote long hours to prayer.’ If, If, If—all these if’s! In the meantime such a person goes from bad to worse. These idle fancies are often temptations of the devil, because they are not in accord with God’s will. Hence we should dismiss them summarily and rouse ourselves to serve God only in that way which he has marked out for us. Doing his holy will, we shall certainly become holy in those surroundings in which he has placed us. Let us will always and ever only what God wills; for so doing, he will press us to his heart.”

The Moment of Death. “At death all our hope of salvation will come from the testimony of our conscience as to whether or not we are dying resigned to God’s will. If during life we have embraced everything as coming from God’s hands, and if at death we embrace death in fulfillment of God’s holy will, we shall certainly save our souls and die the death of saints. Let us then abandon everything to God’s good pleasure, because being infinitely wise, he knows what is best for us; and being all-good and all-loving—having given his life for us—he wills what is best for us. Let us, as St. Basil counsels us, rest secure in the conviction that beyond the possibility of a doubt, God works to effect our welfare, infinitely better than we could ever hope to accomplish or desire it ourselves.”

God loves us and wants us to be saints. He has permitted the evils of this world to grow so great in 2024 that many people despair. But, despite the unique circumstances of our age, the reality remains that we must always seek to do God’s will. If we can in some measure practice the “uniformity with God’s will” described by St. Alphonsus, we will find that there is no better time for us to live than now, for it is the time for which God created us to know, love, and serve Him so that we can be happy with Him and all the saints for eternity. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us!

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Last modified on Friday, June 28, 2024
Robert Morrison | Remnant Columnist

Robert Morrison is a Catholic, husband and father. He is the author of A Tale Told Softly: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Hidden Catholic England.