St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
This Spanish saint was born in 1553. He took over the family business of buying and selling wool when he was twenty-three. Three years later, he got married. God sent him and his wife Mary two children. But many sufferings now came to Alphonsus. Business began to be bad, his little daughter died and then his wife. Now this businessman began to think of what God might have in mind for him. He had always been a devout Christian. But from then on, he prayed, did penance, and received the sacraments more than he had ever done.
When he was nearly forty, Alphonsus' son died, too. Despite his great sorrow, he prayed and asked God for the gift of trust. Alphonsus soon asked to be admitted into the Society of Jesus. However, he was told that he must study first. So he went back to school. Little boys made fun of him. He had to beg for his food, because he had given his money to the poor. At last, he was accepted as a brother and was made door-keeper at a Jesuit college.
"That brother is not a man-he is an angel!" his superior said of him years later. Priests who knew him for forty years never heard him say or do anything wrong. His kindness and obedience were known to all. Once, all the chairs in the house, even the chairs from the bedrooms, had been used for a Forty Hours Devotion. By mistake, Brother Alphonsus' chair was not returned until the following year. Yet he never mentioned the fact to anyone.
During his long life, St. Alphonsus had to conquer very strong temptations. Besides that, he had physical pains. Even as he lay dying, he spent a half hour in terrible agony. Then, just before he died, he was filled with peace and joy. He kissed his crucifix and looked lovingly at his fellow religious. He died in 1617 with the name of Jesus on his lips.
Despite the great tragedies he faced, Alphonsus held fast to his hope and trust in God. Let us pray for this same hope to sustain us.