Thursday, October 31, 2013
To Honour a Saintly Brother
While much attention is given to Hallowe'en today, in the Jesuit Order we honour the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez who foreshadowed the life of our St. Andre Bessette in his role as door-keeper. He had a marvellous influence on many who came and went at the Jesuit College, including on St. Peter Claver, whom he helped discern a call to serve the slaves in Colombia. Here is the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins's tribute to him:
In Honour of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Lay Brother of the Society of Jesus
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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 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.