Pope Affirms St. Alphonsus as Model of Evangelization
Pope Benedict XVI recognized the mission of the Redemptorists and of Liguori Publications on March 30 in his weekly Wednesday audience. In his recent “catecheses”—short instructions to the faithful—the pope has reflected on the doctors of the Church, one of whom was Saint Alphonsus Liguori. In his audience, the pope examined Alphonsus’ life and legacy.
According to the pope, Alphonsus’ commitment to prayer as a path to holiness was evident in his zealous preaching and missionary work. “He insisted a lot on the need for prayer, which enables one to open to Divine Grace to carry out daily the will of God and to obtain one’s sanctification.” The saint emphasized Eucharistic adoration in particular, the Holy Father noted, and centered his spirituality on Christ.
“Meditation on the mystery of the incarnation and the passion of the Lord were often the object of his preaching: In these events, in fact, redemption is offered ‘copiously’ to all men.”
All in all, Pope Benedict called Saint Alphonsus’ view of the human person “realistically optimistic,” and noted that he called each person to the Christian life, no matter his or her age or place in life.
“[Saint Alphonsus] insists on saying that holiness is accessible to every Christian: ‘The religious as religious, the lay person as lay person, the priest as priest, the married as married, the merchant as merchant, the soldier as soldier, and so on speaking of every other state.’”
Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) in 1732. After witnessing the poor and abandoned of the Kingdom of Naples, Alphonsus decided to “dedicate himself to these people, who were poor spiritually and materially,” the pope said.
“These religious, guided by Alphonsus, were genuine itinerant missionaries who reached the most remote villages, exhorting to conversion and to perseverance in the Christian life, above all through prayer.”
And the Redemptorists today continue to preach Saint Alphonsus’ message, the Holy Father said: “Still today, the Redemptorists spread over so many countries of the world with new forms of apostolate, continue this mission of evangelization. I think of them with gratitude, exhorting them to always be faithful following the example of their holy founder.”
Read the full text of Pope Benedict’s address here: http://scalanews.com/scala/pope/scalaenglish.html