They also serve
who only stand and wait.
For more than forty years, Brother Alfonso Rodríguez answered the door at the Jesuit college in Majorca.
But his simple faith, nourished by prayer and service to all who entered the door, brought the love of God to many. This man who had been refused entry to the Jesuits in his late thirties became a spiritual adviser to many – and inspired St. Peter Claver to go to the Americas.
The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a beautiful sonnet In Honor of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez. In the last stanza he wrote:
…while there went
Those years and years by of the world without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.
This morning the words “without event” struck me. Hermano Alfonso did no major deed that the annals of history might recount, but his simple service changed the lives of many.
In today’s first reading. St. Paul tells the Romans (8:39) that nothing “can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul, of course, lists death, the powers, and more as possible threats to that love.
But might the ordinariness of life also separate us from God’s love.
When we, unlike Alfonso, do not see and show the love of God in the ordinary people we meet, in the daily tasks of opening doors and treating people with welcoming kindness, are we letting ourselves be separated from the love of Christ?
But what kept Alfonso going?
Perhaps these words of his can give us a hint:
This is my happiness, this my pleasure:
to live with Jesus, to walk with Jesus,
to converse with Jesus,
to suffer with and for him,
this is my treasure.