Thursday, September 17, 2009

SEPTEMBER 17 SAINT ROBERT BELLARMINE

“Saint Robert Bellarmine”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
SEPTEMBER 17

SAINT ROBERT BELLARMINE,
BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Biographical Information about St. Robert Bellarmine [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine

Readings and Commentary:
[2]

FIRST READING
Wisdom 7:7-10, 15-16

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.

Now God grant I speak suitably
and value these endowments at their worth:
For he is the guide of Wisdom
and the director of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.

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Commentary on
Wis 7:7-10, 15-16

This selection from the Book of Wisdom is part of Solomon’s Speech. Here he recalls that he “prayed” for Wisdom (see also
1 Kings 3:6-9 and 2 Chronicles 1:8-10) , and it was given a great prize valued above his riches. Solomon goes on to pray that he can speak of Wisdom so that he might share what he has learned with others.

CCC: Wis 7:16-17 2501
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.
(John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

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Commentary on
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise. In this passage we give praise for God’s gift of the Law which guides us in our daily lives. The hymn also extols the virtue of obedience and steadfastness to the Law and its precepts. The passage also reflects the idea that following God’s statutes leads to peace and prosperity

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GOSPEL
Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
`Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
`I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."
When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

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Commentary on
Mt 7:21-29

This is the final section of the first of five great discourses of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. In it he broadens his attack on false prophets to include those who perform acts in his name but lead lives of sin. He uses the analogy of the house built upon sand and the house built upon rock to indicate that those who have a deep faith and act out of that faith have a strong foundation and can stand against adversity; while those who give the faith lip service and for others to see but do not have that deep faith will fall. He will not even recognize them when they come before him in final judgment.


The Lord also makes a distinction between saying and doing. The metaphor of the “house built upon rock” refers to those who hear the word of the Lord from an authentic source and act upon it. The house built on sand is a metaphor for those who either are not taught authentically (by false prophets) or who do not act upon what they have been given.

CCC: Mt 7:21-27 1970; Mt 7:21 443, 1821, 2611, 2826; Mt 7:28-29 581
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Reflection:

It is human nature to believe we have conquered a subject (for all practical purposes) or completely acquired a piece of knowledge at various times in our lives. The university student who completes a course of study – especially at the doctoral level believes they are subject matter experts in their particular fields. It is so much easier to believe we have acquired a complete (or at least sufficient) knowledge of our faith. Faith, at least the interior parts, is subjective. A lived faith is part gift and part learned behavior. The learned part comes from observing others and seeing how they express their religious beliefs.

This practical faith becomes very comfortable until someone comes along to challenge what we believe or how we practice our faith. Depending upon how important the practice of our faith is to us or how ingrained it is in our daily lives, this can either be a minor feeling of discomfort or it can be a traumatic event that changes our lives.

In the Gospel today Jesus tells us that the status quo of our faith lives may not be sufficient. He tells us that in order to achieve lives worthy of entry into the Kingdom of heaven we may not sit by, simply saying “I have a strong spiritual life, so I should be accepted into God’s Kingdom.”

No, today as we recall Saint Robert Bellarmine who worked tirelessly to seek the Wisdom for which King Solomon prayed and to record that wisdom for those who followed in his faith, we are reminded that “only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” will find entry.

Like St. Robert we are called to be a people of action, steadfastly following a righteous course. We may not sit on the sidelines and watch, cheering as others take a noble stand for Christ in the face of their adversaries and take also the persecution which follows. No, we are called to stand with them and be counted as sons and daughters of Christ. Our noble saint calls us to action. Our prayer today is that we have the strength of faith to answer that call.

Pax

[1] The picture is “Saint Robert Bellarmine” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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