Saint Bernardino Realino (1530-1616), Jesuit priest, and apostle of God. In a society where we equate success with earthly riches and status, Saint Bernardino is an example of a rich young man who made a better choice-- he gave up everything to follow Jesus, finding his success in heaven rather than in the world.
Bernardino was born in Modena, Italy, to a noble Italian family. He grew up with riches, status, and privilege, given his family’s position within Italian society. Initially studying medicine and philosophy at university, Bernardino turned his focus to law. He worked as an accomplished lawyer, as well as tax collector, mayor, and judge for many years, earning respect and considered successful by all standards. However, despite his worldly accomplishments, he found himself unfulfilled.
“I have no desire for the honors of this world, but solely for the glory of God and the salvation of my soul.” Always having been considered an honest judge who protected the rights of the poor, Bernardino gave his entire salary and earnings to those in need. He entered the Jesuit order, requesting to be a brother, but his spiritual director encouraged him to become a priest. Ordained shortly thereafter, Bernardino became a model confessor, a sincere preacher, and a diligent teacher of the faith to the young.
Saint Bernardino continued to give himself generously to all who sought his counsel—among them princes and royalty-- and the lines leading to his confessional grew ever longer. The “holy old man” served until the day of his death, at which time crowds gathered outside the Jesuit College. On his death-bed, the city mayor and magistrates formally requested Father Realino to be Lecce’s defender and protector in heaven. Unable to speak, he nodded assent, and uttered his final words: “O Madonna, mia santissima" ("O Lady, my most holy lady").
The life of Saint Bernardino Realino reminds us that it is never too late for a change in perspective! As a young man, Bernardino achieved great worldly success, but realized that worldly recognition and riches left him spiritually unfulfilled. He turned to the Lord, listened for His Will, and embraced a rich lifetime of service and obedience, providing necessary spiritual direction to others. On this, his feast day, we might pause to take stock of our own perspective and priorities. How do we judge success in our lives? How might that differ from the manner in which the Lord, Our God, judges success?
God, You taught Your Church to observe all the heavenly commandments in the love of God and neighbor. Help us to practice works of charity in imitation of Your Priest, Saint Bernardino, and merit to be numbered among the blessed in Your Kingdom.
Lord, we pray that we may be able to follow St. Bernardino Realino and respond to Your call, for Your glory and the salvation of our souls. St. Bernardino Realino, pray for us. Amen.
Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.
Today’s Psalm: Psalm 68: God’s Triumphal Procession
17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands
and thousands of thousands;
the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.
18 When you ascended on high,
you led captives in your train;
you received gifts from men,
even from the rebellious—
that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, "I will bring them from Bashan;
I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes,
while the tongues of your dogs have their share."
24 Your procession has come into view, O God,
the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
with them are the maidens playing tambourines.
26 Praise God in the great congregation;
praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.
27 There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,
there the great throng of Judah's princes,
and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.
28 Summon your power, O God;
show us your strength, O God, as you have done before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings will bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds,
the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.
Humbled, may it bring bars of silver.
Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come from Egypt;
Cush will submit herself to God.
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth,
sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides the ancient skies above,
who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
whose power is in the skies.
35 You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary;
the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God! (17-35)
Day 183 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Change of perspective; Prioritization of the Lord and His Will in our lives.
Requested Intentions: Healing of illness (P); Small business assistance, blessings on jobs, financial aid for college student (M); Financial assistance (F); For a recovery and sanctification (X); For a daughter struggling with disease and illness (T); For all lost children (I); Prosperity, health, healing, and conversion for a family (M); Health and healing of a mother (A); Healing of heart and mind (T); Healing of a new relationship before marriage (K); Healing of a relationship (T); Eternal rest for the dearly departed, end to financial struggles, successful sale of home, ability to travel on pilgrimage (L); For healing of a stomach illness (L); For the repose of the soul of a sister (C); Vocational security for family, Financial security for daughter beginning college (M); Vocational guidance, courage and strength (I); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 68: God’s Triumphal Procession
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."