On the Greatness of the Dangers
to which our Eternal Salvation is Exposed
and on the Manner in which we ought to Guard
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
In this Day's Gospel we find that when Jesus Christ entered the Boat, along with
His Disciples, a Great Tempest arose, so that the Boat was Agitated
by the Waves, and was on the Point-of being Lost. During this Storm, the
Savior was Asleep; but the Disciples, Terrified by the
Storm, ran to Wake Him and said: "Lord, Save us, we Perish" - Matthew 8:25.
Jesus gave them Courage by saying: "Why are you Fearful, O ye of little Faith? Then rising-up
He Commanded the Winds, and the Sea, and there came a Great Calm" - Matthew 8:26. Let us examine what is meant by the 'Boat', in the
Sea', and by the Tempest, which Agitated the Sea.
The Boat-on the Sea, Represents Man in this World. As a Vessel on the Sea is exposed-to a Thousand (1000)
Dangers - to Pirates, to Quick-sands, to Hidden Rocks, and to Tempests; so Man in this Life is encompassed-with
Perils arising-from the Temptations of Hell:
from the Occasions of Sin,
from the Scandals or Bad Counsels of Men,
from Human Respect, and above all
from the Bad Passions of Corrupt Nature (i.e. Concupiscence),
represented-by the Winds that Agitate the Sea, and Expose the Vessel to Great
Danger of being Lost.
Thus, as Saint Leo says, our Life is Full, of Dangers, of Snares,
and of Enemies: "Plena omnia periculis, plena laqueis; incitant cupiditates, insidiantur
illecebrae; blandiuntur lucra" - Saint Leo Sermon. The First (1st) Enemy
of the Salvation of every Christian is his own Corruption.
"But every Man is Tempted by his own Concupiscence, being Drawn away and Allured" - James 1:14. Along with the
Corrupt Inclinations which Live within us, and drag us to Evil, we have many
Enemies from without, which Fight against us.
We have the Devils,
with whom the Contest is very Difficult, because they are Stronger than we are.
"Bellum grave", says Cassiodorus, "quia cum fortiore" - Psalm 5. Hence, because we
have to contend-with Powerful Enemies, Saint Paul exhorts us to Arm ourselves with the Divine
Aid: "Put you on the Armor of God, that you may be able to Stand against the Deceits of the Devil. For our Wrestling is
not against Flesh and Blood; but against Principalities and Powers, against the Rulers of the World of this Darkness, against the Spirits of Wickedness in
the High Places" - Ephesians 6:11-12. The Devil, according to Saint Peter, is a
Lion who is continually going-about Roaring, through the 'Rage' and 'Hunger' which Impel him to Devour
Souls. "Your Adversary the Devil, as a Roaring Lion, goeth about seeking whom he may
Devour" - 1Peter 5:8. Saint Cyprian says that Satan is continually Lying-in-Wait for us, in order to make us
his Slaves. "Circuit demon nos singulos, et tanquam hostis clausos obsidens muros explorat et
tentat numsit pars aliqua minus stabilis, cujus aditu ad interiora penetretur" - Saint Cyprian.
Even the Men, with whom we must converse, Endanger our Salvation.
They Persecute or Betray us, or Deceive us by
their Flattery and Bad Counsels. Saint Augustine says that, among the Faithful,
there are in every Profession, Hollow and Deceitful Men. "Omnis
professio in ecclesia habet fictos" - Psalm 99. Now if a Fortress were full-of Rebels within, and encompassed-by
Enemies from without, who is there that would not regard it as Lost? Such is the condition-of each of us,
as-long-as we Live in this World. Who shall be able to Deliver us from so many Enemies? Only
God: "Unless the Lord keep the City, he Watcheth in vain that Keepeth it" - Psalm 126:1
What then is the Means, by which we can Save our Souls, in the midst-of
so many Dangers? It is to Imitate the Holy Disciples - to have Recourse-to our Divine Master,
and say to Him: "Save us, we Perish". Save us,
O Lord; if Thou do not, we are Lost. When the
Tempest is Violent, the Pilot never takes his Eyes from the Light which Guides
him to the Port. In like manner, we should keep our Eyes always turned-to God, Who
alone can deliver us from the many Dangers, to which we are Exposed. It was thus David acted, when he found himself
Assailed-by the Dangers of Sin.
"I have Lifted up my Eyes to the Mountains, from whence Help shall come to me" - Psalm 120:1. To Teach us to Recommend
ourselves continually-to Him, Who alone can Save
us by His Grace, the Lord has Ordained that, as-long-as we remain on this Earth,
we should Live in the midst-of a Continual Tempest, and should be surrounded-by Enemies.
The Temptations of the Devil, Persecutions of
Men, the Adversity which we Suffer in this World, are not
Evils; they are, on the contrary, 'Advantages', if we Know how-to make-of-them the Use, which God Wishes,
Who Sends or Permits them for our Welfare. They Detach our Affections from this Earth, and Inspire a
Disgust for this World, by making us feel Bitterness and Thorns, even
in its Honors, its Riches, its Delights, and Amusements. The Lord Permits all these Apparent
Evils, that we may take-away our Affections-from Fading Goods, in which we meet with so many Dangers of
Perdition, and that we may seek to Unite ourselves with
Him, Who alone can make us Happy.
Our Error and Mistake is, that we find ourselves
Harassed by Infirmities, by Poverty, by
Persecutions, and by such Tribulations, instead of having Recourse-to the
Lord, we turn to Men, and place our Confidence in their Assistance, and thus draw-upon ourselves, the
Malediction of God, Who says:
"Cursed be the Man, that Trusteth in Man" - Jeremiah 17:5. The Lord does not
Forbid us, in our Afflictions and Dangers, to have Recourse-to Human Means; but
He Curses those who Place their Whole Trust in them. He Wishes us to have Recourse-to
Himself, before all others, and to Place our only Hope in
Him, that we may also Centre-in Him, all our Love.
As-long-as we Live on this Earth, we must, according to Saint Paul, Work-out our Salvation with
Fear and Trembling, in the midst-of the Dangers
by which we are Beset. "Cum metu et tremore vestram salutem operamini" - Philippians 2:12. Whilst a certain Vessel was
in the Open Sea, a Great Tempest Arose, which made the Captain Tremble. In the
'Hold' of the Vessel, there was an Animal eating with as much Tranquility, as if the Sea were Perfectly Calm. The Captain, being asked why he was so-much
Afraid, replied: If I had a Soul like the Soul of this Brute, I too would be Tranquil and
without Fear; but because I have a Rational and an Immortal Soul, I am Afraid of Death, after which I must appear before the Judgment Seat of God; and
therefore I Tremble through Fear. Let us, also Tremble, Beloved Brethren. The
Salvation of our Immortal Souls is at-stake. They who do not Tremble
are, as Saint Paul says, in Great Danger of being Lost; because they who
Fear not, seldom Recommend themselves to God, and Labor-but-Little,
to Adopt the Means-of Salvation. Let us Beware; we are, says Saint Cyprian, still in 'Battle Array', and still
Combat-for Eternal Salvation. "Adhue in acie constituti de vita nostra dimicamus" -
The First (1st) Means-of Salvation, then, is to Recommend ourselves
continually-to God, that He may keep His Hands
over us, and Preserve us from Offending Him. The Next,
is to Cleanse the Soul from all past Sins by making
a General Confession. A General Confession is a Powerful Help, to a Change-of Life. When
the Tempest is Violent, the Burden-of the Vessel is Diminished, and each Person on-board
throws his Goods into the Sea, in-order-to Save his Life. O Folly of
Sinners, who, in the midst-of such Great Dangers of Eternal
(∞) Perdition, instead of 'Diminishing' the Burden-of the Vessel - that is,
instead-of 'Unburdening' the Soul of Her Sins - Load
Her with a Greater-Weight. Instead of Flying-from the Dangers of
Sin, they Fearlessly continue to put themselves Voluntarily into Dangerous Occasions;
and, instead-of having Recourse-to God's Mercy for the Pardon-of their
Offences, they Offend Him still more, and
'Compel' Him to Abandon them.
Another Means is to Labor Strenuously, not to allow ourselves to become the Slaves
of Irregular Passions. "Give me not over to a Shameless and Foolish Mind" - Ecclesiasticus
(Sirach) 23:6. Do not, O Lord, deliver-me-up to a Mind,
Blinded-by Passion. He who is Blind, sees not what he is doing, and
therefore he is in Danger of Falling into every Crime.
Thus, so-many are Lost by submitting-to the Tyranny of their
Passions. Some are Slaves-to the Passion of Avarice. A Person, who is now in
the 'Other World', said: Alas, I perceive that a Desire of Riches is beginning to Rule over me. So said, the
Unhappy Man; but he applied no 'Remedy'. He did not Resist the Passion
in the 'Beginning', but 'Fomented' it till Death, and thus at his Last Moments, left but little Reason to
Hope-for his Salvation. Others are Slaves-to
Sensual Pleasures. They are not Content-with Lawful Gratifications, and
therefore they pass-to the Indulgence of those, that are Forbidden. Others are Subject-to
Anger; and because they are not Careful to-'Check' the Fire at its 'Commencement', when it is Small,
it Increases and Grows into a Spirit of Revenge.
"Hi hostes cavendi", says Saint Ambrose, "hi graviores tyranni. Multi in
persecutione publica coronati, in hac persecutione ceciderunt" - Sermon. Disorderly Affections, if they are
not 'Beaten-down' in the Beginning, become our Greatest Tyrants. Many, says Saint Ambrose, after having
'Victoriously Resisted' the Persecutions-of the Enemies of the
Faith, were afterwards Lost, because they did not Resist the
First (1st) Assaults of some Earthly Passion.
Of this, Origen was a Miserable Example. He fought-for, and was prepared-to give his Life, in Defense-of the
Faith; but, by afterwards, yielding-to Human Respect, he was led-to
Deny it. We have still a more-Miserable Example in Solomon, who, after having Received
so many Gifts from God, and after being Inspired-by
the Holy Ghost, was, by Indulging a Passion for
certain Pagan Women, induced to Offer Incense to Idols. The
Unhappy Man who submits-to the Slavery of his Wicked Passions, resembles
the Ox that is sent-to Slaughter, after a Life-of Constant Labor. During their Whole
Lives, Worldlings Groan-under the Weight-of their Sins, and at the End-of their Days,
Fall into Hell.
Let us conclude. When the Winds are 'Strong' and 'Violent', the Pilot 'Lowers-the-Sails' and 'Casts-Anchor'. So, when we find ourselves
Assailed by a Bad Passion, we should always 'Lower-the-Sails'; that is, we should
Avoid all the Occasions which may increase the Passion, and should 'Cast-Anchor' by
Uniting ourselves to God, and by Begging-of Him
to give us Strength, not to Offend Him.
But some of you will say, What am I to do? I Live in the Midst of the World, where my Passions continually Assail
me, even against my Will. I will answer in the Words of Origen: "Donec quis in tenebris saecularibus manet et in
negotiorum obscuritate versatur, non potest servire Domino. Exeundum est ergo de Egypto, relinquendus est mundus, non loco sed animo" - Homily.
The Man who Lives-in the Darkness of the World, and in the Midst-of Secular Business, can with
Difficulty, serve God. Whoever then, Wishes to Insure his Eternal
(∞) Salvation, let him Retire-from the World and take Refuge-in
one of those Exact-Religious Communities, which are the 'Secure Harbors', in the Sea-of this World. If he cannot actually Leave the World, let him Leave it
at-least-in Affection, by Detaching his Heart from the Things-of the World, and from his own
Evil Inclinations: "Go not after thy Lusts", says the Holy Ghost,
"but Turn away from thy own Will" - Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 18:30. Follow not your own
Concupiscence; and when your Will, Impels you to Evil, you must not
Indulge, but must Resist its Inclinations.
"The Time is Short; it remaineth, that they also who have Wives, be as if they had None; and they that Weep, as
though they Wept not; and they that Rejoice, as if they Rejoiced not; and they that Buy, as though they Possessed not; and they that Use this World, as if
they Used it not: for the Fashion of this World, Passeth Away" - 1Corinthians 7:29-31. The Time-of-Life is Short; we should then Prepare-for
Death, which is Rapidly Approaching; and to Prepare-for that Awful Moment, let us
Reflect that everything in this World shall soon End. Hence the Apostle tells us, those who Suffer in this Life, to be
as if they Suffered not, because the Miseries of this Life shall soon
pass-away, and they who Save their Souls, shall be
Happy for Eternity (∞); and he Exhorts those who Enjoy the
Goods-of this Earth, to be as if they Enjoyed them Not, because they must One Day, leave all-things; and if they Lose
their Souls, they shall be Miserable Forever
- End of Liguori Sermon -
Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation
Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and
Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches.
Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the
Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.
Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of
Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may
Love none other, but You.
I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that
belongs to me, as You Please.
I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.
I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the
Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to
those who have done Evil to me.
Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a
Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a
Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of
Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.
Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to
You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant
that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary.
Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me.
Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls
This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In
1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it,
or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the
Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.
O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and
O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of
O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your
Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing
Souls, Pray for us.
Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .