Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Notes on the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez.

Today is the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, a Jesuit brother who spent more than forty years as porter at the Colegio Nuestra Señora de Montesión on the Island of Mallorca. Though his formal duties consisted mainly in watching the door of the college and welcoming visitors, the wise and thoughtful Brother Rodriguez won a great reputation as a spiritual counselor whose advice was eagerly sought by other Jesuits, students at the college, and members of the general public. It is perhaps a fitting testament to the exemplary humility of this saint that I could not find a decent picture of him to illustrate this post. However, to continue what's become an annual tradition I'll complete this post by reprinting again the fine poem that Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote on the occasion of St. Alphonsus' canonization in 1887:
In honour of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, laybrother of the Society of Jesus.

Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day
On Christ they do and on the martyr may;
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic beast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hustle then from fiercest fray.

Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca Alonso watched the door.

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, pray for us. AMDG.


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