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Word Count: 7,546
Alphonsus like so many saints had an excellent father and a saintly mother Don Joseph de Liguori had his faults He was somewhat worldly and ambitious at any rate for his son and was rough tempered when opposed But he was a man of genuine faith and piety and stainless life and he meant his son to be the same Even when taking him into society in order to arrange a good marriage for him he wished Alphonsus to put God first and every year father and son would make a retreat together in some religious house Alphonsus assisted by divine grace did not disappoint his fathers care A pure and modest boyhood passed into a manhood without reproach A companion Balthasar Cito who afterwards became a distinguished judge was asked in later years if Alphonsus had ever shown signs of levity in his youth He answered emphatically Never It would be a sacrilege to say otherwise The Saints confessor declared that he preserved his baptismal innocence till death Still there was a time of danger There can be little doubt but that the young Alphonsus with his high spirits and strong character was ardently attached to his profession and on the way to be spoilt by the success and popularity which it brought About the year 1722 when he was twenty-six years old he began to go constantly into society to neglect prayer and the practices of piety which had been an integral part of his life and to take pleasure in the attention with which he was everywhere received Banquets entertainments theatres he wrote later on--these are the pleasures of the world but pleasures which are filled with the bitterness of gall and sharp thorns Believe me who have experienced it and now weep over it In all this there was no serious sin but there was no high sanctity either and God Who wished His servant to be a saint
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