I have long been a friend of Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, or perhaps I should say that Saint Alphonsus, by some mysterious disposition of Divine Providence, has long been a friend to me. At the moment, I am reading for the third time Father Frederick M. Jones’s outstanding biography: Alphonse de Liguori, Saint of Bourbon Naples. I was struck last evening by this passage from a letter of the saint, quoted in the book:
What resources have we? We have God. And what work of God was ever based on human support? Tell me what human support had the work of St Francis, of St John of the Cross, of St Teresa?
. . . In proportion as a work is great, so much the more does Jesus Christ make it begin from nothing and surround it with contradictions so as to make it admired by all as a work of God and not a work of human ingenuity. . . . The only thing that can ruin this institute is lack of confidence in God and placing one’s trust in human means. . . . Who has done what has been achieved up to now? Me or God? And that same God who has begun the work can complete it.