Reflections on Strenna 2023, Pt.VIII

SYM Corner 02.22.23

By Fr. Lou Molinelli, SDB, Province Delegate of Youth Ministry

In last week’s reflection, I began to share with you some reflections of the Rector Major on Salesian holiness from laypeople who are members of the Salesian family. We began last week with Mamma Margaret Occhiena Bosco. In this week’s reflection, I share with you another who is not as well known among us, a member of the Salesian Family who reached great heights of holiness by fulfilling his baptismal consecration.

Bl. Bartolomé Blanco Márquez was born in 1914 in Pozoblanco (Cordoba) Spain. By profession, he was a chair-maker. He was known to be an upright and courageous man with superior intelligence who defended the rights of the people and of the Church. He advocated for the rights of workers in Cordoba and was a leader in the Catholic Action movement. When the Spanish Revolution broke out in 1936, Bartolomé made himself available to the Civil Guard for the defense of his city. He was accused of rebellion and sent to prison where, it is said, he behaved in an exemplary manner. He was tried and sentenced to death. His last words to his family and fiancé convey a deep faith. He told his family, "...avenge me with the revenge of a Christian: reciprocating those who have tried to hurt me with good." To his fiancé, Maruja, he gave the most beautiful testimony of selfless love: "I just want to ask you one thing: that in memory of the love we had for each other which is growing at this moment, you take care of the salvation of your soul as the main objective, so that we can meet in heaven for all eternity, where no one will separate us." On October 2, 1936, he was executed by firing squad. He forgave his executioners as he faced them. His last words were, "Long live Christ the King!" Bartolomé was 22 years old.

We see in Bartolomé a clear witness of the pastoral heart of Christ the Good Shepherd. Even as he ministered in his short life on earth, his concern was for the salvation of souls of all with whom he came in contact. This is what we Salesians would call pastoral zeal, following the heart of Don Bosco, who gave his life for the salvation of the young.

While most of us will not be called to witness to the point of giving up our physical lives, we are called to witness to selfless love, to stand firm in our faith and in our conviction as Catholic Christians, to not waver in the face of adversity, and to stand above all as a living cross for the world to see. Many members of our Salesian Family today do that without fanfare and notice by the commitment they make to their families and to their vocation to follow Christ by following the plan of life of the Salesian Preventive System. Our joyfulness and optimistic spirit are the primary ways we live our selflessness as Salesians.

May this young man inspire us to forgiveness, selflessness, and the strong desire to live for Christ the King!

February 22, 2023 - 8:00am
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