Today is the feast of Alphonsus Rodriguez, a Jesuit brother who lived from 1532 to 1617. Alfonso did not have an easy life. He had very little education. His father died when Alfonso was 14. He married at the age of 26, but his wife and 3 children all died before Alfonso reached the age of 40. He suffered poor health. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1571, after many delays because of concerns about his poor health and lack of education.

After his novitiate training, Alfonso was assigned to the Jesuit college in Majorca, Spain. He worked as the porter there for over 40 years, greeting students at the door, giving them advice and encouragement, disbursing alms, and running errands as needed for the school. Perhaps the tragedies of his life gave Alfonso compassion for others, for many students benefited from Alfonso’s counsel and wisdom.

Being a porter is humble work. Alfonso imagined, however, that every time he greeted a student, he was welcoming Christ into his life.
Can we, like Alfonso, find joy in humbly serving our Lord? Can we greet everyone as we would greet Christ, and in particular be compassionate to those who are most in need?

—Ted Munz, S.J., Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits