In 1732, near Naples, St. Alfonso de Liguori founded the Redemptorist Missionaries. The times were troubling for both state and Church. As a consequence the young Alfonso had to face many set-backs as he tried to keep his fledgling group on a solid foundation.
They faced together the driving rains of petty jealousies from the surrounding Neapolitan states. They were buffeted by the howling winds of the king’s opposition and were marooned by the floods of Church bureaucracy. Finally the storms died down and the Redemptorist rule was approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749.
Through it all Alfonso guided his little band encouraging them to build on rock: “Keep the works and the works will keep you”, he said. By that he meant, “Be faithful to your mission in Christ and the mission will open up your future”. And it did.
As they guided the church through troubled times recent popes have encouraged the faithful to build on rock - following Christ and making a ‘preferential option for the poor’.
Everyone who listens to my words and acts on them will be like a sensible person who built their house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against the house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.- Matthew 7:24-25
Gracious God, your Son is the rock on which your Church stands. Pour out your Spirit on us that His option for the poor may be also ours. We ask you this through him for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Hailstones- A haiku by Matsuo Basho
glancing off the rocks
at Stony Pass