Tuesday, July 13, 2010


“St. Camillus De Lellis”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN


(In the United States this memorial is transferred to this date from July 14.)

Biographical Information about St. Camillus De Lellis [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Camillus De Lellis

Readings and Commentary:


1 John 3:14-18

We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Commentary on
1 Jn 3:14-18

St. John continues his narrative on righteousness and love in this passage. Note he has not really focused on what he considers to be the central teaching of Christ – love one another. In this particular section he begins with the comparison from scripture of Cain and Abel (
Genesis 4:1-16). He brings that analogy to why the world, in his eyes intrinsically evil, hates the Christian community, who are good because they love each other.

CCC: 1 Jn 3:15 1033; 1 Jn 3:17 2447

Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7b-8, 9

R, (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be might upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Commentary on Ps 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7b-8, 9

In this section of Psalm 112 the virtues of faithfully following God’s commandments are extolled. The one who follows the Lord will be upheld by God “in everlasting remembrance.”


John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, yon will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments
and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."
Commentary on Jn 15:9-17
Discourse on the union of Jesus with his disciples continues. His words become a monologue and go beyond the immediate crisis of Christ’s departure. In this passage Jesus focuses on the chain of love from the Father, through the Son, to his adopted sons and daughters.

There is much made of the use of the difference in the Greek words for ‘love’ used in this discourse. When Jesus says ‘No one has greater love than this…’ the word agapao (intimate, selfless love) is used while when he says ‘You are my friends…’ the word phileo (casual ‘friendly’ (brotherly) type of love) is used. St. John uses the two words synonymously so the message is clear – reiterated at the end of the passage – ‘Love one another.

St. John also distinguishes the Disciples new relationship with God saying “I no longer call you slaves…I have called you friends;” Jesus designates the disciples “friends of God.” This designation is supported and defined other places in sacred scripture. It separates them from Moses, Joshua, and David who carried the designation “Servants of the Lord” (see Deuteronomy 34:5, Joshua 24:29, and Psalm 89:21). Calling them “friends” of God establishes the same relationship as that enjoyed by Abraham (see James 2:23 “Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God." [3] The clear reference being that they like Abraham would be patriarchs of the New Covenant.

CCC: Jn 15:9-10 1824; 15:9 1823; 15:12 459, 1823, 1970, 2074; 15:13 363, 609, 614; 15:15 1972, 2347; 15:16-17 2745; 15:16 434, 737, 2615, 2815

The great command of the Lord to “Love one another” is the law all Christians are pledged to live by. We are to follow Jesus’ example and forgive the hurts caused by our brothers and sisters and to accept them as co-heirs of the Lord’s adoption. We know this and have seen the Lord himself exemplify these words as well as command them as we hear in St. John’s Gospel. If that were the only example we had; if Jesus was the only measure by which we could measure ourselves, many of us would despair every being able to reach the salvation promised for the merciful.

Thankfully the Lord has called holy saints to show us that even those who have started on a bad note can achieve great things if hey trust in God and put their hope in Him. Such a person was the saint we honor today, St. Camillus De Lellis. He began his life, not as one might expect, leading a holy life of piety; rather his early career was spent warring and gambling. He was on a course toward spiritual death when God opened his heart and mind to those who were ill and suffering.

From the point of his conversion St. Camillus gave himself to care for the sick. He started as a nurse and then was appointed administrator of a hospital. Unlike the specialized notion of that title today, St. Camillus first obligation was to the sick. Even when he himself was ill it is said he was crawl to those suffering or in pain, in many cases miraculously curing them. Having been a soldier, St. Camillus established an order of men who would go onto the battlefields and tend the wounded; establishing the function of the combat medic and was the first to adopt the red cross as a symbol of that function.

St. Camillus is one of those marvelous saints who teaches us what the Lord meant when he told us to “love one another”. The saints example today gives us courage to follow the Lord and hope that our past failings will be washed away as we embrace the call to love the poor and infirmed.


[1] The picture is “St. Camillus De Lellis” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

[3] St. John synthesizes Isaiah 41:8 and 2 Chronicles 20:7 in which Abraham is called God’s friend.

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