Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Prayer to St. Robert Bellarmine

God our Father,
you gave Robert Bellarmine wisdom and goodness to defend the faith of your Church.
By his prayers may we always rejoice in the profession of our faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.



Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

1 TM 3:1-13

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.

Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 101:1B-2AB, 2CD-3AB, 5, 6

R. I will walk with blameless heart.

Of mercy and judgment I will sing;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity;
when will you come to me?

R. I will walk with blameless heart.

I will walk with blameless heart,
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
any base thing.

R. I will walk with blameless heart.

Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I destroy.
The man of haughty eyes and puffed up heart
I will not endure.

R. I will walk with blameless heart.

My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me.
He who walks in the way of integrity
shall be in my service.

R. I will walk with blameless heart.

LK 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,

“Do not weep.”

He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said,

“Young man, I tell you, arise!”

The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.


September 17

St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)

When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. 
He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain.

His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. 
Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. 
He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. 
He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; 
although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, 
he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V.

Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, 
"The walls won't catch cold."

Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, 
preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church.

The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible.

Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. 
The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, 
stemming from his writings. 
In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.


O Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

A mighty God is the Lord:
come, let us adore him.


O God of truth and Lord of power,
whose word their course to things assigns,
whose splendor lights the morning hour,
whose fiery sun at noonday shines:
Within us quench the flames of strife,
the harmful heat of passion quell;
give health of body to our life
and give true peace of soul as well.
In this, most loving Father, hear,
and Christ, co-equal Son, our prayer:
with Holy Ghost, one Trinity,
you reign for all eternity.

Psalm 101 (102)
Prayers and vows of an exile

Let my cry come to you, Lord:
do not hide your face from me.

Lord, listen to my prayer
and let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me:
whenever I am troubled,
turn to me and hear me.
Whenever I call on you,
hurry to answer me.
For my days vanish like smoke,
and my bones are dry as tinder.
My heart is cut down like grass, it is dry –
I cannot remember to eat.
The sound of my groaning
makes my bones stick to my flesh.
I am lonely as a pelican in the wilderness,
as an owl in the ruins,
as a sparrow alone on a rooftop:
I do not sleep.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
they burn with anger and use my name as a curse.
I make ashes my bread,
I mix tears with my drink,
because of your anger and reproach –
you, who raised me up, have dashed me to the ground.
My days fade away like a shadow:
I wither like grass.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Let my cry come to you, Lord:
do not hide your face from me.

Psalm 101 (102)

Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.

But you, Lord, remain for ever
and your name lasts from generation to generation.
You will rise up and take pity on Zion,
for it is time that you pitied it,
indeed it is time:
for your servants love its very stones
and pity even its dust.
Then, Lord, the peoples will fear your name.
All the kings of the earth will fear your glory,
when the Lord has rebuilt Zion
and appeared there in his glory;
when he has listened to the prayer of the destitute
and not rejected their pleading.
These things shall be written for the next generation
and a people yet to be born shall praise the Lord:
because he has looked down from his high sanctuary,
– the Lord has looked down from heaven to earth –
and heard the groans of prisoners
and freed the children of death
so that they could proclaim the Lord’s name in Zion
and sing his praises in Jerusalem,
where people and kingdoms gather together
to serve the Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.

Psalm 101 (102)

You founded the earth, Lord,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

He has brought down my strength in the midst of my journey;
he has shortened my days.
I will say, “My God, do not take me away
half way through the days of my life.
Your years last from generation to generation:
in the beginning you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will pass away but you will remain;
all will grow old, like clothing,
and like a cloak you will change them, and they will be changed.
“But you are always the same,
your years will never run out.
The children of your servants shall live in peace,
their descendants will endure in your sight.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

You founded the earth, Lord,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
– open your ears to the words of my mouth.

First Reading
Ezekiel 8:1-6,16-9:11

In the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, 
I was sitting at home and the elders of Judah were sitting with me, 
when the hand of the Lord fell on me.

I looked and saw something that looked like a man. Downwards from what seemed to be his loins he was fire; and upwards from his loins he seemed to shine like polished bronze. He stretched out what seemed to be a hand and took me by the hair; and the spirit lifted me into the air and, in visions from God, took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the inner north gate, where the idol of Jealousy stands, provoking jealousy. There I saw the glory of the God of Israel, as I had seen it in the valley. He said, ‘Son of man, raise your eyes to the north.’ I raised my eyes to the north, and there, to the north of the altar gate, stood this statue of Jealousy at the entrance. He said, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing? Do you see all the filth practiced here by the House of Israel, to drive me out of my sanctuary? 
You will see filthier practices yet.’

He then led me to the inner court of the Temple of the Lord. And there, at the entrance to the sanctuary of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the sanctuary of the Lord and their faces turned to the east. They were bowing to the east, towards the sun. He said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see that? Is it not bad enough for the House of Judah to do the filthy things that they are doing here? But they fill the country with violence and provoke my anger further; look at them now putting that branch to their nostrils. My anger forces me to it; I will show neither pity nor mercy. They may shout as loud as they like; I will not listen to them.’

Then as I listened he shouted, ‘Come here, you scourges of the city, and bring your weapons of destruction.’ Immediately six men advanced from the upper north gate, each holding a deadly weapon. In the middle of them was a man in white, with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt. They came in and halted in front of the bronze altar. The glory of the God of Israel rose off the cherubs where it had been and went up to the threshold of the Temple. He called the man in white with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt and said, ‘Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practiced in it.’ I heard him say to the others, ‘Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor mercy; old men, young men, virgins, children, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the old men in front of the Temple. He said to them, ‘Defile the Temple; fill the courts with corpses, and go.’ 
They went out and hacked their way through the city.

While they were hacking them down, I stayed behind; I fell face downwards and exclaimed, ‘Ah, Lord, are you going to annihilate all that is left of Israel as you turn your anger on Jerusalem?’ He said, ‘The guilt of the House of Israel and Judah is immense, boundless; the country is full of bloodshed, the city overflows with wickedness, for they say, “The Lord has abandoned the country, the Lord cannot see.” Right, then, I too will show no pity, I too will not spare. 
I mean to call them to account for all their behavior.’ 
The man in white with the scribe’s ink horn in his belt then came back and made his report, 
‘I have carried out your orders.’


When you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the holy place,
there will be a time of great distress.
If that time were not cut short,
no living thing could survive;
but for the sake of God’s chosen that time of trouble will be cut short.

Do no damage to sea or land
until we have set the seal of our God upon the foreheads of his servants;
but for the sake of God’s chosen that time of trouble will be cut short.

Second Reading
St Augustine's sermon On Pastors

The example of St Paul

Once upon a time, when Paul was in great poverty and shut up in prison for proclaiming the truth, the brethren sent him what was necessary to relieve his poverty and meet his needs. He wrote to thank them: It was kind of you to share in my troubles. I have learnt to manage on whatever I have. I know how to live in plenty and how to live in want. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. 
All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships.

He rejoices, not so much at having his wants relieved as at the generosity of his friends. 
Thus he shows them what is truly good about their action; 
for he does not want there to be shepherds among them who feed themselves rather than their sheep.

What, then, was he asking for? It is not that I wish for your gifts, but that I demand that you should be fruitful. 
Not, in other words, that I should be filled, but that you should be not empty but abundant.

If you cannot, like Paul, earn your living by the work of your own hands, then by all means relieve your wants by accepting the milk that your sheep provide; but never neglect the weaknesses and needs of your flock. Do not seek to do well out of it, so that you appear to be proclaiming the Gospel only because you need the money. Give the light of the Word to the people who need illumination. For you are like lamps, as Scripture says: Let your loins be girded and your lamps lit, and No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, 
they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.

Now then, if a lamp is lit for you in your house, you add oil to make sure it doesn’t go out. On the other hand, if a lamp full of oil fails to shine then it does not deserve to be put on the lamp-stand: it may as well be smashed at once. So the means of living must be offered only as an act of charity and accepted only out of necessity. The Gospel must not be like something that is bought and sold, the price being the preachers’ livelihood. If you do sell it like that then you are cheapening a thing of great value. Accept the relief of your wants from the people, but receive the reward of your preaching from the Lord; for it is not right for the people to reward their pastors for serving them in the gospel of love. Let the pastors look for reward from the same source that the people look to for salvation.

Why are these pastors being rebuked? What is the charge against them? 
It is that they take the milk and clothe themselves with the wool but neglect the sheep from which these things come. 
They care not about Christ’s interests, but their own.


It is you I want, not your possessions.
Children are not expected to make provision for their parents,
but parents for children;
I am perfectly willing to spend what I have,
and to be expended, in the interests of your souls.

If my life-blood is to crown that sacrifice which is the offering up of your faith,
I am glad of it;
I am perfectly willing to spend what I have,
and to be expended,
in the interests of your souls.

Let us pray.

Look upon us, Lord, creator and ruler of the whole world:
give us grace to serve you with all our heart
that we may come to know the power of your forgiveness and love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.