September 17, 2015

Robert Bellarmine

September 17, 2015:  St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor

  • 'Hands' tie:  Don't neglect the gift conferred on you through the prophetic word with the laying on of hands (1st reading); The works of the Lord's hands are faithful and just (psalm)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  The Lord has ratified his covenant forever (psalm)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Jesus reclined at Pharisee's table to dine (gospel)
  • 'Feet' tie pin:  Woman wept at Jesus' feet, bathed them with her tears, kissed them (gospel)
  • 'Justice for Immigrants' T-shirt, 'LOVE' sticker:  God's preferential love for the poor and vulnerable (Pope's remarks re street people)
  • Green suspenders, white shirt:  today's colors

Pope Francis
Care for street people:   I appreciate your care for and promotion of the dignity of women and children on the street and encourage you to persevere.  The sad realities you encounter are from indifference, poverty, violence, and trafficking; they involve marital separations and the birth of children out of wedlock.  Street women and children are human beings with names, faces, and God-given identity.
Many are robbed of their childhood, rights, and future.  Lack of legal protection and adequate structures only exacerbates their deprivation; they have no family or access to education or health care and are at the mercy of criminal organizations.  Their cries rise to God, who created us in his image.  It's an indictment of a social system, but we find it hard to change.
More girls and women are exploited, even by family, forced to sell their bodies—in our societies that claim to be modern, cultured, and developed.  Corruption and greed rob the innocent and vulnerable of dignity, abetting the crime of trafficking and other injustices.  We must safeguard their dignity!
Don't be disheartened by the challenges you encounter; remember Christ showed God's preferential love for the weak and outcasts.  We need to work to eliminate all that forces people to live on the street or to earn a livelihood there.  We must bring to all, especially the vulnerable and underprivileged, our merciful Father's goodness and tenderness.  Mercy is the supreme act by which God comes to meet us; it opens our hearts to the hope of everlasting love.  May your mission advance and protect their personhood and dignity.  May the sweet gaze of Mary, Mother of Mercy accompany your efforts.  (At Symposium on Pastoral Care of the Street)
Serve unreservedly:  Beware “comfort” in religious life.  Be open to what the Lord tells you, and bring it to your superior, spiritual director, the Church, and your bishop, with a healthy understanding of structures and discipline.  Never gossip; it's the plague of community life.  A gossip is like a terrorist who throws a bomb into a community.
You want to be on the front line because you share the Church's maternal quality.  Always be on the front line.  The Church is the Bride of Christ, and Sisters are brides of Christ, drawing their strength from the Bridegroom to carry his message to the world.  (At Congress for Young People in Consecrated Life) 
World Day of the Sick message: “Entrusting Oneself to the Merciful Jesus like Mary” conclusion deferred to tomorrow   
  • 1 Tm 4:12-16  Set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.  Attend to reading, exhortation, and teaching.  Don't neglect your gift.  Be diligent, so everyone will see your progress.  By persevering you'll save both yourself and those who listen to you.
  • Ps 111:7-10  "How great are the works of the Lord!"  He delivered his people, ratified his covenant.  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom....
  • Lk 7:36-50  Jesus, invited by a Pharisee to dinner, reclined at his table.  A sinful woman entered, wept, bathed his feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them.  Pharisee / Jesus:  “If he were a prophet, he'd know this woman is a sinner.”  “A creditor forgave two debts, one for 500 days' wages, one for 50.  Who will love him more?” / “The one who owed more.” / “Right.  You didn't give me water for my feet, but she bathed and wiped them.  You didn't give me a kiss or anoint my head, but she's kissing and anointing my feet.  So I tell you, her sins have been forgiven; she's shown great love.”  To her, “Your sins are forgiven.  Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  Others: “Who is this who forgives sins?”
  • Creighton:  God doesn't measure out his love and forgiveness, but we must accept it and let it change us.
St. Robert Bellarmine
  • One Bread One Body:  "Love-makings":  Everyone deserves God's wrath, but Jesus took our sin upon himself and saved us.  When we realize what he did, we live lives of thanksgiving and love.  The makings of love are our sin, Jesus' death, our repentance, his forgiveness....
  • Passionist:  Many of us have been caught in awkward social situations, being caught on the spot or provoked.  Simon may have wanted to show he was prominent enough to bring Jesus in.  When a woman who had no place at his table found a place in Jesus’ heart, Simon said, if only Jesus knew what kind of woman this was!  Jesus did know:  a sinner who turned her life around and was now devoted to him. But Jesus also knew what kind of person Simon was.  So for Jesus a difficult social situation became an occasion of healing.  For us such situations can be about God's grace....
  •  Gratitude fuels love!  People who met Jesus were either attracted to him or repelled. Simon the Pharisee likely patronized Jesus because of Jesus' popularity but criticized his compassion because Pharisees shunned public sinners (and so didn't give them help).  The woman was oblivious to everything except Jesus; she demonstrated her extravagant love, loosening her hair, anointing him, spending what was precious to her, serving the one who showed her God's mercy and kindness.
In the parable of the two debtors, Jesus makes clear that love springs from forgiveness.  "Love covers a multitude of sins."  The woman's expression of love was in gratitude for the forgiveness and kindness Jesus showed her.  The contrast of attitudes between Simon and the woman demonstrates how we can accept or reject God's mercy.  Self-sufficient Simon felt no need for mercy or grace....
St. Robert Bellarmine
  • Catholic sources and the Declaration of Independence/ Rager:  Long before the Declaration, its principles were traditional among Catholic churchmen,  Declaration framers drew inspiration, encouragement, and political ideals from Catholic sources, particularly from Bellarmine.

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