Today is the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ (1533-1617). He was a humble lay brother who served as the doorkeeper at a Jesuit school in Majorca for 45 years. He exerted great influence on Jesuits and lay people who came to know him, and was especially admired for his wisdom about finding joy in hardship. Here is an exercise he used in times of trouble:
I put myself in spirit before our crucified Lord, looking at him full of sorrow, shedding his blood and bearing great bodily hardships for me.
As love is paid for in love, I must imitate him, sharing in spirit all his sufferings. I must consider how much I owe him and what he has done for me. Putting these sufferings between God and my soul, I must say, “What does it matter, my God, that I should endure for your love these small hardships? For you, Lord, endured so many great hardships for me.” Amid the hardship and trial itself, I stimulate my heart with this exercise. Thus, I encourage myself to endure for love of the Lord who is before me, until I make what is bitter sweet.