The promise of Eternal life has been a clarion call to the Saints for centuries, rousing them to action and heroic virtue. They knew that, compared with Eternity, this life is but a shadow. We must seek the same destination as the Saints in the midst of a world filled with amusements and vanities that constantly threaten our journey to Heaven. St. Alphonsus Liguori's Attaining Salvation is a timeless, priceless compass for that journey. Written when the great Doctor of the Church was 77 years old, this treasury of reflections shines with the mature learning of a brilliant mind and a life filled with the study and service of God. With 45 short chapters filled with provocative Scripture quotes, this book is at once challenging and easy to understand. It can be read a little at a time or all at once with equal benefit. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, including "The Thought of Eternity," "We Are Pilgrims on Earth," "I Must One Day Die," "Necessity of Mental Prayer," "The Mercy of God," "Detachment from Creatures," "Lukewarmness," and "Purity of Intention." Attaining Salvation is a beautiful gem that will instruct and inspire every reader because it is written with the commanding insight of one of the Church's great saints. Its words do not just feed the intellect; they nurture the soul. It is St. Alphonsus Liguori at his best.
St. Alphonsus Liguori was born in 1696 to Neapolitan nobility at Marianella, Italy. He became a recognizable lawyer after going through law school at the age of sixteen, but later decided to leave law in favor of giving his salvation more attention. Alphonsus joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri as a seminarian and was ordained in 1726, when he was thirty. The homilies he gave had the special ability of converting those who had fallen away from the faith. He also founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and authored such works as The Glories of Mary, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Attaining Salvation, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Preparation for Death Abridged, What Will Hell Be Like?, The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation, and The Way of the Cross.
After being a bishop for over a decade, St. Alphonsus Liguori died on the first of August, 1787. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839, and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871. His feast is celebrated on August 1.