Diocese of San Bernardino-Filipino group

Recollection with Bishop Rutilio:

August 28, 2016
By Bro. Primo Pacis



Recollection is a gift of God and has to be intentional. We have to follow God, we’re not satisfied, we want a closer relationship with God. Out of this recollection comes a desire to be better disciples of Christ. We are called to serve and love Him, and to love and serve other people. All of these things we do in our respective vocations.

The above was the summary of the message given by San Bernardino Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Rutilio del Riego during the recollection day sponsored by the Cursillos in Christianity – Filipino Group on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 28, which was held at St. Paul the Apostle’s Maher Hall in Chino Hills, California. The theme for the recollection was “Return to Me With Your Whole Heart.” Bishop Rutilio, who is the new spiritual adviser of the Filipino Cursillo, talked on the topic of Service. The other speaker was Rev. Joseph Pilotin, MS, parochial vicar of St. Paul, who spoke on Mercy.

Bishop Rutilio recalled how as a priest his motto was, “Chosen from among men, to be a servant of many.” As auxiliary bishop, his motto was Omnibus Servire In Caritate, which means, “To Serve All With Love.” It emphasizes his aspiration that “no one will feel a stranger in the Church of San Bernardino” and, by extension, in all the Church. Service is a word that asks for servants or slaves, he said. To be a servant of God was prophesied 800 years before the Virgin Mary identified herself as a “maidservant of the Lord.” He said that in the Old Testament, Moses called himself a “servant of God.” Serving God is a gift of privilege that must have an element of humility, because you are dependent on God,” he added.

Bishop Rutilio said were created to serve and love God. We serve God by doing his will, according to what we are: single, married, religious life, or priesthood. He recalled how in the Book of Samuel, he was called: (1) to serve God and (2) to serve with all your heart. But sometimes, he noted, we are hesitant to give service. However, he emphasized that virtue is found in doing what we don’t like.

Reading from the “Parable of the Talents” in the Gospel, the Bishop said that in the teachings of Jesus, He wants us to use whatever talents we have been given. There must be this willingness to serve God, and not be afraid to work with what we have. Service is joy, he emphasized, recalling Mother Teresa who dedicated her life to serving the poor of Calcutta. It was revealed years after her death that at times she experienced a crisis of faith, going through what St. John of the Cross described centuries earlier as “a dark night of the soul.” However, this did not deter her from continuing her service and ministry to the poor. When we continue to serve, we also strengthen our prayer life, he said.

I encourage all of us to be generous to ourselves. If we have authority, use that authority to serve the people around us. Serve and be a witness to God. In our works of mercy, we attract people to God, Bishop Rutilio concluded.

In the first half of the Recollection, Fr. Joseph talked about Mercy as being the key to “leavening the Environment,” in relation to the purpose of the Cursillo Movement. He reminded those who attended the Recollection about this year being an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (from Dec. 8, 2015, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to Nov. 20, 2016, Feast of Christ the King). He also called on the Cursillistas to learn more about the Pope’s proclamation and call for works of mercy (both corporal and spiritual).

Fr. Joseph said there are two words for Mercy in the Hebrew language: (1) Hesed, and (2) Rahamim. Hesed, as highlighted by St. John Paul II, indicates a profound attitude of goodness. It involves mercy and punishment. The goal is always the restoration of a broken relationship. Hesed is the masculine image of mercy. Rahamim, on the other hand, shows a decidedly maternal and feminine image of mercy. The word is derived from “rehem” which refers to the mother’s womb.

He said Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. As Pope John Paul II exhorted at the 1980 National Ultreya in Rome, “Dedicate yourselves more and more to being tireless apostles in your environment.” In proposing mercy as a leaven to the environment, Fr. Joseph asked, What kind of Christ should you bring to people? He answers: A merciful Christ, a God who is the face of mercy. He also brought up two questions: (1) What hinders us from receiving mercy? (2) Why do we (Cursillistas) need to receive mercy?

 In summary, Fr. Joseph traced the movements of Mercy: From a state of brokenness, sinfulness, and isolation, one receives Mercy. One experiences transformation or conversion. One then becomes a disciple of Christ himself.