August 1st, Redemptorists worldwide celebrate the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, their Founder. We give thanks for him and for the group he gathered around him ono missionary men not long afterwards became officially recognised as The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded to preach the Gospel to the poor and the most abandoned. Just one year earlier, Sr. Maria Celeste Crostorosa (now Blessed) began the Redemptoristine Nuns, a contemplative Order, known now as The Order of the Most Holy Redeemer’. She and Alphonsus worked closely together in the foundation of both groups.
‘Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic me and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption’ (Redemptorist Constitutions, §20)
ALPHONSUS, A MAN ON FIRE
“Return Love for Love”
is what he said to do.
When all was said and done, this was his heart’s deep cry,-
‘return love, for love’.
Live in the Birth of Bethlehem,
walk in its stables,
smell its smells,
be filled with speechless wonder
at the One Who Is,
and who is lying in the food-trough of
Live in the Call of Calvary,
Come back again to stand
upon that hill,
don’t run away from the awe-filled
horror as you stand
and gaze at our Messiah,-
Sent by the One who so greatly
loved the World.
Live in the shadow of its radiance.
Live in the ever-lasting gift of Eucharist,
Behold the Man! Behold the Lamb!
Behold your God, given in a wafer:
Drink in the meaning of the Cup.
‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink?’ (Mark 10:38-39)
‘We can…’ said those
two Thunder Brothers to their Lord. (Mark 3:17)
And so can we,- drink of the
overflowing cup of given life.
Return love for love.
‘Live in my love’, said He.
‘As He (my Father) has loved me, (John 15:9)
that is the very how
my love is now
Come, live in it, and drink of it,-
Come, laugh and dance in it
with Mary, -who ‘rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1),-
‘so that your joy may be full’. (John 15:11)
If he has so loved us,-
might live our lives,
returning love for love.
(Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.)
( Memories of visit to Naples-Scala, and of page 47 of Frederick Jones’ book on the writings of Alphonsus Liguori, in Classics of Western Spirituality Series..)
Both the Redemptoristines and the Redemptorists are constantly praying that young women and young men, in their twenties and older, will come and share the passion in us for people. We want the work of the Most Holy Redeemer to continue into future generations. Talk to any Redemptorist, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘Every new generation is a continent to be won for Christ!’ (St. John Paul II)
‘The harvest is great, the labourers are few: ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.’
email@example.com, Esker Monastery, Athenry.