He lived at a time of great upheaval in history. It was the time of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Robert had a brilliant mind and he used his gifts to improve scholarships in the Church. He was one of the early Jesuits, and the first one to become a professor at Louvain University.
Robert was not afraid to pursue the truth, even if it brought about the disapproval of others.
He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing that the divine right of kings was untenable.
In his own life he lived a very simple lifestyle. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor.
He also prepared two Catechisms which had great influence in the Church. This was for the benefit of forming people in the understanding of our faith.
He was a friend to Galileo whom he admired, even though they had some difference on how to approach things.
Robert Bellarmine devoted his life to the study of Scripture and Catholic doctrine.
His writings help us understand that the real source of our faith is not merely a set of doctrines, but rather the person of Jesus still living in the Church.
In the course of change there are many who look for firm guidance. This is not bad in itself. We all need guidance and clarity. This is especially true in times of great change.
Some mistake this to mean simplistic and very narrow interpretations of Scripture and Church teachings. Robert was truly catholic and comprehensive in his teachings, and never narrow.
Robert did not get everything right, including some of his dealings with Galileo.
However, he continued being open to deeper insights into truth.
He was always kind and respectful to those who disagreed with him.
He was a Catholic reformer and disagreed on a number of points with Protestant reformers. However, he always disagreed with love and gentleness.
The pursuit of truth is diminished when we do not do so with love. Yes, intellectual pursuit of truth is necessary.
We must not forget that the greatest truth is love.