St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
Tragedy and challenge beset today's saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer.
Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters' home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation.
Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits' college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations.
His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus's life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems.
Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.
We like to think that God rewards the good even in this life. But Alphonsus knew business losses, painful bereavement and periods when God seemed very distant. None of his suffering made him withdraw into a shell of self-pity or bitterness. Rather, he reached out to others who lived with pain, including enslaved blacks. Among the many notables at his funeral were the sick and poor people whose lives he had touched. May they find such a friend in us!
Daily Prayer - 2015-10-30
Dear Jesus, I come to you today
Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Rom 9:1-5
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Alleluia Jn 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 14:1-6
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
30th Week in Ordinary Time
People there were observing him carefully. (Luke 14:1)
If you're a parent of a small child, you know that one of the biggest things about them is their eyes. They're always watching you. They seem to take everything in—often a lot more than you realize. They learn from what you do just as much from what you say, if not more so. Every minute you spend with them is an educational opportunity, with you being the teacher!
Jesus had a teaching opportunity in today's reading. He was in the house of a Pharisee, where he was being heavily scrutinized. He didn't worry about his host's expectations, however. He just did what he knew he should do: he healed a sick man. But then, realizing he had a "captive audience," he decided to use that healing to bring home a lesson. The Sabbath, he said, was made for healing and salvation, not just for observing rules and traditions.
As believers, we all have opportunities to witness to our faith. Like Jesus, we are on display. Of course, that is true anytime we interact with other people. But it's especially true if they know we are Christians. Whether we realize it or not, they will pick up some kind of message from us. And whether they realize it or not, they will associate Christianity—and maybe even God—with what they see in us. So we really are "ambassadors for Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20)!
It can feel like a lot of responsibility, this call to be Christ to the world. But all we can really be is ourselves, just as Jesus was in the Pharisee's home. And that's a good thing! For no one else has your sense of humor. No one else has your way of relating to people. So if you stay close to Jesus and just try to be the best version of yourself, you'll make an impact. God will use you to reach people in ways that no one else can. You just need to lean back into the Lord's arms, and you'll find yourself doing a lot more than you think. For Christ is in you, and he wants to touch everyone with his love.
"Lord, may what I do and say reflect the faith I profess. Strengthen me to be the salt and light that people are looking for."
Listen to the Word of the Lord, not just hear the Word, "I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;". It's funny how we can manipulate the truth, just like the devil. You have a truth, we have a truth, and be at each others' throats!? What's that all about? Think about the Gospel, the Lord had the truth (ultimate truth) and the Pharisees were bible scholars with the supposed truth left by God, so what happened? Why were they on the attack? It's like people in a parish that yell at the priest, seeking to "put him in his place" and tell him how to do his job. I say this because it is happening more frequently, with parishioners, and within families that are divorcing lately. Ultimately, someone is manipulating the truth and the utlimate end of the manipulator is death...separation, death to love. I want you to realize then, the consequences of not remaining faithful. When I went to "escuela de la cruz", they taught us to love the priest, be there for him because many are not there for him. Hundreds of people surround him and not one dares to be on his side when he is sick, or invite him to a family dinner. This is the life Jesus lived on earth. In spanish, the scripture said that the Pharisees were "spying" on the Lord, whereas the english translation said "observing Him carefully". They were watching the Lord to see what he'd do, not to be converted but to show them they were right. Our priest shows the way to the Lord, and people are watching what he says and does, mostly to gossip...not to be converted and made more Holy. Jesus our Lord and Savior is alive. The spirit the Pharisees carried is alive. I feel most are not fully open to the Holy Spirit. They are curious, they invite the Lord to dine with them, (like in the Mass), they do things out of obligation, but what is going on inside your soul? It is a bashing of your truth against the real Truth. Notice, the Truth of the Lord aims to heal, and the truth of the Pharisee aimed to close and diminish the light.
He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word! Praise the Lord Jerusalem. The message is for the world. The message of salvation. The message of obedience. What is our Lord ultimately asking us to obey? Obey the will of God, not your own. What is the will of the Lord? It is being able to listen, when it comes to humility, it means not to lash out, when it comes to humility, it means to obey, when it comes to humility, it means to save no matter if it costs your neck, because when it comes to humility, Jesus our Savior shows the way to eternal life. It is hard to be humble when you are attacked, but it is not people attacking but the evil one. This then should bring you to your knees. Maybe then we will listen. I told a sibling yesterday "what was our dad asking you over and over almost in tears the previous day?" she couldn't answer. He was pleading "listen!" And she couldn't remember his plea. I say this for you to realize that every day we read the bible, the Lord is speaking "listen", I want you to be mine, and let me be totally yours