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Friday, July 31, 2020

St Alphonsus Liguori

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

One of the most remarkable phenomenon in the Judeo-Christian tradition is how God uses the weakness of people to confound the wise. Not only is this uncomfortable for us, it often pushes away those who think of themselves as sane, centered and grounded. Christopher Hitchens, who in his last years was a loud and acerbic critic of religion, asserted that the dark night of the soul was nothing more than depression, a view that is shared by many who call themselves atheists.

Nevertheless, in Psalm 50 we read, "True sacrifice is a broken spirit: a contrite and humble heart, O God, you will not refuse." Only when we acknowledge our brokenness does God work, using our humility as a path to truth. We are all weak; we are all fragile; we are unable to live without others and creation. From a Christian perspective these are truths that set us free because they help us submit to God and God's ways.

Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorists, is a powerful example of this. Well educated, he finished his doctoral studies in canon and civil law before he was twenty, but was unhappy. Hearing God's call to share the good news in simple ways, he sought ordination, despite the opposition of his family. Badly bent over by rheumatism, and unable to stand erect, he managed to preach popular missions for 26 years. Though a renowned theologian, it was his humility and integrity that touched the hearts of ordinary believers most deeply.

Today, ask for the grace of not knowing everything.

What experiences have taught you the value of humility?

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