Among many saints and blesseds liturgically honored today (e.g., Saint Wolfgang & Blessed Theodore Romzha), we have the feast of the Jesuit Saint Alphonse Rodriguez, known for his extraordinary holiness that shone out of his ordinary work as the doorkeeper of a Jesuit school. Tremendous opportunities for holiness in the ordinary.

Why is Rodriquez’s feast so important? Because in him I see how Grace expanded the horizon of a person’s humanity shining the love of the Savior. He met the high and low at the door as the Lord wanted: with love and dignity. Plus, many thought that a laybrother of the Society of Jesus and a man with a very humble assignment of doorkeeper could be a saint; he produced no summa, no great record of baptizing or being martyred in a far away land. By the way, the Capuchins have several saints who were doorkeepers and we also have the noteworthy Saint André Bessette, a Brother of Holy Cross. Many times, I believe, the laybrothers are supreme witnesses to Christ and the promise of salvation; religious brothers show the Hundredfold as realizable.

What is memorable of Alphonse is a poem written by the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, number 49:

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.

If you don’t know St. Alphonse, do yourself a favor and look up his biography.