Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! As gratitude as a matter of justice towards God, and invites Him to shower us with greater blessings, I am happy to post here today an excerpt on the proofs of our faith by Saint Alphonsus Liguori:
Proofs of Faith
In the first place, the truth of our holy faith is loudly proclaimed by the prophecies of Holy Scripture. These prophecies were uttered hundreds of years ago and in later years for filled to the letter. Thus, for example, the death of our Savior was foretold by several prophets and the time and circumstances accompanying it minutely described. It was prophesied that the Jews, in punishment for the deicide, would be driven from the temple and the holy land and, hardened and obstinate in sin, would be dispersed throughout the world; this prophecy, we know, was literally fulfilled. It was prophesied that after the death of Christ the veneration of human deities would give away to the worship of the true God. The event has verified the prediction, for the apostles of our Lord, in spite of the innumerable obstacles thrown in their way and armed with no weapons save the cross of Christ, have conquered the world and brought it captive to faith in the living God.
In the second place, the truth of our holy faith is evident from the miracles that were wrought by our Lord, by His Apostles and the saints of the Catholic Church as a sanction of her holy teaching. Miracles are beyond the powers of nature. They can happen only by the power of God, to whom all creation is subject. Accordingly, if a religion has real miracles to show in confirmation of her doctrine, that religion must be divine, for it is impossible for God to sanction and promote a false religion by the performance of genuine miracles.
Can the Jews, the heathens, the Mohammedans, or the heretics point to a single miracle right in favor of their religious tenets? They have no doubt made efforts in the past to deceive the people by trickery and the seemingly miraculous; the deception was soon discovered. But the miracles that God has worked through His servants in every age of the Catholic Church are simply innumerable. In the Catholic Church alone have the words of our Blessed Lord been fulfilled: “Amen, amen I say to you either believe within me, the works that I do he also shall do; and greater than they shall he do.” (John 14:12).
Without doubt, in the early days of the Church, miracles were more numerous than they are today, since they were necessary for the spread of the Faith. But still they have never been wanting in any age, and they have constantly aided in the conversion of heathen and infidel nations. Numberless miracles were performed, for example by St. Francis Xavier, St. Louis Bertrand, and other holy missionaries in India. Were one to call into question the extraordinary facts recorded in the annals of Church history and in the lives of the Saints, I would simply ask him: By what right do you refuse to believe such men as St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. Gregory, and others when you willingly except what Tacitus, Suetonius, or Pliny has said?
Moreover, God has been pleased to allow certain miracles to go on uninterruptedly in the Church as a continual reproach to the unbelief of the wicked. Recall to mind the famous miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of Saint Januarius at Naples. This blood, which usually is found in a hardened, coagulated condition, liquefies several times a year when brought near the head of the Saint. This has been attested by thousands of eyewitnesses. Infidels have tried in vain to find natural explanations for the phenomenon; but the miracle continues to baffle their efforts and to humble their pride.
A third proof for the truth of our holy faith is furnished by the courage and constancy of the martyrs, and this proof is even more convincing even than that of miracles. 15 Roman emperors in succession used every means in their power to destroy the Christian faith from the face of the earth. Under the reign of Diocletian, who inaugurated the ninth persecution, 17,000 Christians were executed within a single month, not to speak of the thousands were banished from the country.
According to the account of Genebrard, 11 million martyrs were put to death during the ten great persecutions. If these were gathered within the space of one year, it would be 30,000 murders for each day. Now in spite of the fact that these confessors of Christ were subjected to every imaginable torture, such as the tearing of the flesh with iron hooks, roasting their bodies on a gridiron, and burning them with lighted torches, the number of those who were willing and anxious to die for their holy faith was never diminished but seemed always on the increase.
Tiberius, the governor of Palestine, wrote to Emperor trading that they were so many Christians he decided to die as martyrs that it was impossible to execute them all. Here upon Trajan published an edict in which he commanded the Christians to be left in peace for the future. no I ask: If the Faith of these valiant martyrs, which is the same that our Holy Church professes today, were not the True Faith of Christ and had it not God assisted them to witness to that phase with their very blood, would they ever have been able to endure those fateful tournaments in to deliver them selves up freely and joyfully to a cruel death? Have there been any murders in the sex that fell away from the Catholic Church and had it not God assisted them to witness to that Faith with their very blood, would they ever have been able to endure those frightful torments and to deliver themselves up freely and joyfully to a cruel death? Have there been any martyrs in the sects that fell away from the Catholic Church? Have they perhaps a St. Lawrence who offered his roasted limbs to the cruel tyrant for a banquet?
One more proof of our holy faith becomes evident and we consider that from the time of the Apostles down to our own days our Faith has continued unaltered. The Apostles and their successors were careful to preserve the doctrine of our Divine Redeemer and its primitive purity and integrity. Christ Himself imposed upon them this sacred duty when He said: “going there for, teaching all nations; teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20). Therefore Saint John exhorts the faithful: “let that which you have heard from the beginning abide in you.“ (1 John 2:24).
—from 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation