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Thursday, July 31, 2008

1st August, Eve of our 20th Anniversary

1st August, Anniversary of the death of Saint Alphonsus 1787
Eve of the 20th Anniversary of our foundation

Saint Alphonsus, a Model of Hope in the Midst of Human Oppositions

Since the Son of God established His Church on earth at the price of His sufferings, He does nothing great here below without using the cross as an instrument.
Alphonsus, having been called by Him to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, could not escape this rule. Hence how fearfully he had to suffer in his difficult undertaking!
When his project became known, all Naples was let loose against him; he was treated as a visionary, a fanatic, a deluded person, he was even proclaimed from the pulpit as a deplorable example of the fatal illusion of a victim of pride and presumption.
The assaults he had to undergo from his family and his friends were still more bitter to him. His father, a venerable old man, held him pressed to his bosom for three whole hours, speaking most tenderly to keep him in the paternal mansion.
The Propaganda of Naples, to which he belonged, called a meeting of the members against him, and with unexampled animosity unanimously expelled him, and even deprived him of his benefice. What shocks were these to his heart! But his confidence in God supported him against all human attacks and persecutions.
To cap the climax of his humiliations, he saw himself abandoned by his first companions; and this aggravated the public feeling against him. And, indeed, did not such an event seem to justify the public opposition to his project? Did not even God seem to take sides with his adversaries? Alphonsus needed all the faith of Abraham, to keep up his hope in this circumstance. “God does not need me,” he wrote to his director, (who was then also wavering,) “but I stand in need of God.”
He did even more; at the very height of his troubles, he pushed his heroism so far as to oblige himself by vow to continue the work he had begun, were he to remain alone to do it. This was the decisive point; his confidence was soon rewarded by the arrival of new companions.

Pray for the Eve of our 20th AnniversaryO my God, through the intercession of St. Alphonsus, impart to us that strength of will, which continues to hope in Thee in apprehensions, confusion and the vain terrors of human respect. May the remembrance of Thee be our support, and alone suffice to preserve our courage and serenity amid criticisms, persecutions, derisions and calumnies. “We have hope as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm.”
The above text and prayer were composed by
The Servant of God
Fr. Louis Bronchain, C.SS.R.

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