Honor 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 breast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hurtle 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 Alfonso watched the door.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, in honor of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, lay brother of the Society of Jesus
Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez (1533-1617), great mystic, and example of profound humility. Tragedy and challenge were constants in his early life, but this holy man found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer.
Alphonsus was born in Segovia, Spain, the son of a wealthy merchant. From childhood he was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mar, loving her as his mother. This childlike devotion to her was the main reason for his sanctity. Following his first Holy Communion, Alphonsus began studying with the Jesuits, and expressed his desire to enter the order upon reaching the age of admission. At the acceptable time, Alphonsus traveled to Alcala, where he began his studies, but was summoned home upon his father’s unexpected death. His mother, a strong and pious woman, decided to maintain the family business, but after a short time, declared that Alphonsus would be the one to manage it. Obediently, he re-settled in Segovia, committing himself to managing the family textile business at the age of 23. He married, and with his wife, produced three children.
“In failure,” he said afterwards, “I saw the majesty of God. I recognized the wickedness of my life. I had not been concerned about God, and in that state, I was on the verge of my eternal perdition. I saw the sublime grandeur of God from the dust of my misery. I imagined myself as a second David, and the Miserere was the expression of my state of soul.”
"I will never again follow my own will for the rest of my life," a motto he lived until his death.
Saint Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Local leaders would also come to the door of the college, seeking advice of the humble and holy man. He had a special gift for spiritual conversation. His superior affirmed that no spiritual treatise produced as much spiritual good as contact with that lay brother. He always responded to every request in his large correspondence. His fame spread and he became known as the Doctor of Majorca.
“Lord, I’m coming!” as he hurried to greet the arriving visitor.
“In the difficulties which are placed before me, why should I not act like a donkey? When one speaks ill of him — the donkey says nothing. When he is mistreated — he says nothing. When he is forgotten — he says nothing. When no food is given him — he says nothing. When he is made to advance — he says nothing. When he is despised — he says nothing. When he is overburdened — he says nothing... The true servant of God must do likewise, and say with David: Before You I have become like a beast of burden.”
Saint Alphonsus was aware of his educational limitations, but looked to the grace of God as explanation of his ability to serve. He said, “Insofar as the consciousness of my own debility became keen in me, I felt the grandeur of the Lord.” Saint Alphonsus died following a long illness. The three nights before his death—following his last Eucharist—were spent in visionary ecstasy. His funeral was attended by Church and government leaders.
Though Your most holy passion and death, I beg of you, Lord, to grant to me a most holy life, and a most complete death to all my vices and passions and self-love, and to grant me sight of your holy faith, hope and charity.
O God, in the faithful service of our brother Alphonsus You have shown us the way to joy and peace. Make us ready and watchful companions of Jesus, who became the servant of all, and now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Day 303 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Increase in vocations; Reform and renewal of the clergy.
Requested Intentions: Freedom to immigrate (D); End to debt (N); Restoration of a marriage (J); Complete recovery of son (P); Recovery of parish priest, health of mother, conversion of son (J); Successful employment, end to depression (J); Successful immigration and employment (S); Conversion of an unloving daughter (M); Recovery of husband, health of mother, economic freedom (R); Freedom from depression, restoration of family relationships (N); Restoration of a relationship (J); Healing of friends from cancer (J); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Recognition of God’s Will; Obedience in vocation (J); Successful employment (M&I); For a son who struggles (S); Conversion (P); For family, peace, and social justice (J); Son’s employment (K); Discernment of the Lord’s will (A); Mother’s full recovery from a stroke (K); Employment (P); For family’s prosperity and employment (M); For a husband’s addiction (F); Health in a relationship, literary representation (D); For a mother struggling with cancer (P); Employment and financial assistance (L); End to work troubles, return to health (R); For a husband’s recovery from alcoholism (M); Healing of a father following stroke (S).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."