Greetings my dear brothers and sisters, confreres, Redemptorist Lay partners on mission, associates, and collaborators,
On the 1st of August we, the Redemptorist family celebrate the feast of St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori. On this occasion, we have an Online Triduum preached by Fr. Ivel Mendanha, CSsR, General Consultor for the preparation of the feast. So each of these three days in preparation for the feast we will reflect on one aspect very dear to the heart of St. Alphonsus. From his writings, he held 3 devotions as key to growth in our life of love in the Lord. These are: The Crib, the Cross, and the Blessed Sacrament.
We will hear each day how St Alphonsus understood and explained each of these aspects which have become the core of our Alphonsian and Redemptorist Spirituality.
Each day will be uploaded before the start of the Triduum (from the 28th evening) so that the registered members will have access to the video at any time of the day.
Form to register: Online Registration Form
REFLECTIONS WITH YOUTUBE LINKS
DAY ONE: The Crib
We begin today with the Devotion to the Crib, to the baby Jesus
St. Alphonsus wrote a novena in preparation for Christmas which was first published in 1758. It is here that St. Alphonsus explains the purpose and meaning of the Incarnation. He answers the question, “Why did God become a human being?” In the Eastern Church, the great answer of St Irenaeus was that God became a human being so that we humans could participate in God’s own life. In the Western Church, the answer to the same question was given by St. Anselm, Cor Deus Homo? Why did God become human? In order to offer satisfaction or reparation or restore the honour to God that human beings had destroyed due to sin.
St. Alphonsus, moved by the Eastern Fathers chose to answer the question, Why did God become human but more why did he come as a little fragile and weak baby? So that we would know how much he loved us. It was pure love that moved our God to come and become one of us and in the form of a baby as no one could ever reject or refuse to turn away a baby, but embrace the baby in one’s arms.
The reason for the incarnation then for St. Alphonsus was God’s amazing, passionate, unbelievable love for us. God is love and his nature is love and this love is what caused him to become a baby so that we would know love and experience and love and fall in love with him, the God of love.
St Alphonsus chose a traditional South Italian devotion to the baby Jesus at Christmas, keeping the little baby in a cradle in the home, and used it to invite the simple poor to reflect each day in preparation for Christmas on the God of love now present in the baby of Bethlehem and so to adore the one who is love and let our hearts be inflamed with love.
I invite you now, to take a few moments to cherish this thought, that St Alphonsus invited all his listeners and readers to contemplate on. God’s amazing love for me, that he comes as a weak, fragile little baby with arms open seeking my heart, my embrace, my response. What would you say to Jesus, Son of God, the little baby of Bethlehem?
DAY TWO: The Cross
Once again St. Alphonsus takes an important devotion of the people of South Italy, namely devotion to the passion of Jesus and the Crucifix and uses this devotion to explain the reason why God had to suffer and die and die such a shameful death on the cross. The answer to this question for St. Alphonsus is in the mystery of a God of immense love.
St. Alphonsus reflects on the word passion as meaning intensity and so in the passion of Jesus, we have the intensity of love. God was not satisfied with loving us in coming to us in a child, a baby but now God shows us how close he is to us by willing to take on our pain, our suffering, our brokenness, our poverty, our weakness and even our intense physical suffering and death to show us who much he loved. No greater love has one than to give his life for the other.
The core of the passion and suffering and death of Jesus is the love of God that wishes to enflame our hearts with love. The Crucified Lord on the cross is the God of amazing love.
DAY THREE: The Blessed Sacrament
Perhaps one of the most famous works written by St. Alphonsus and published in many languages the world over is The Visits to the Blessed Sacrament. His prayer is called the Prayer of Spiritual Communion.
The Tabernacle, the Blessed Sacrament is for us the presence of the God of love, whom St Alphonsus refers to as the prisoner of love in the prison of love, waiting for us to come to him so that he will listen to us and grant us the gracious gift of his life-giving presence and love.
There is no holier place even more holy than the holy land, according to St. Alphonsus than the Blessed Sacrament, because there is present the Lord and God of Love, Jesus himself, “I will be with you always, even unto the end of time.”
FEAST DAY: 1st of August
On this feast day of Our beloved Father and Founder St. Alphonsus we reflect on a few essential aspects of the life and Spirituality of St. Alphonsus that makes him stand out and apart among the great line of saints and doctors of the Church.
Born in 1696 as the eldest son of a noble family. He used all his talents and energies, abilities and blessings that God bestowed on him for the singular purpose that the poor and abandoned would hear the Good News through preaching and writing, through art and music, through the presence of the Redemptorists living among them.
Some of the important aspects of the Spirituality of St. Alphonsus that render him apart from all else and so relevant for us today in our challenging times are:
- The Universal Call to Holiness
- Love is the essence of Holiness.
- Jesus is the Way to Holiness
- The need to be united with Jesus.
- Prayer as the simple but most efficacious means to holiness.
- St Alphonsus proposed a spirituality of the heart.
- St. Alphonsus chose finally to offer the Church a path between the rigorism of the spiritual and moral life.
Let us on the feast of St. Alphonsus, renew our commitment to the God of love, be grateful recipients of his love and respond with the same love to go out constantly to all who are in need of love and mercy, tenderness and kindness in our homes, neighborhoods, Church, and beyond.
One can view the recorded videos uploaded each day on Social media platforms:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@scalanews8920 (Scala News)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CSsR.en/ (C.Ss.R. – Redemptorists English)