Quotations from Saint Josemaria
Understanding, dialogue, love
Charity does not consist so much in “giving” as in “understanding”. Therefore, seek an excuse for your neighbour — there is always one be found, — if it is your duty to judge.
The Way, 463
We Christians have to be ready to share our lives with everyone at all times, giving to everyone the chance to come nearer to Christ Jesus. We have to sacrifice our own desires willingly for the sake of others, without separating people into watertight compartments, without pigeon-holing them or putting tags on them as though they were merchandise or dried-up insects. As Christians we cannot afford to separate ourselves from others, because, if we did that, our lives would be miserably selfish. We must become “all things to all men, in order to save all men.”
Christ is Passing By, 124
Loving souls for God”s sake will make us love everyone: understanding, excusing, forgiving... We should have a love that can cover the multitude of failings contrived by human wretchedness. We have to have a wonderful charity, veritatem facientes in caritate, defending the truth, without hurting anyone.
The Forge, 559
Differences that unite us
Each of us has our own character, our personal taste, our moods — at times our bad moods — and our defects. But we all have likeable aspects in our personality as well, and for this reason, and many others, everyone can be loved. It is possible to live happily together when everyone tries to correct their own defects and makes an effort to overlook the faults of others. That is to say, when there is love which cancels out and overcomes everything that might seem to be a motive for coldness or disagreement. On the other hand, if husband and wife dramatize their little differences and reproach each other for their defects and mistakes, they put an end to peace and run the risk of killing their love.
When we say we cannot put up with this or that, or find it impossible to hold our peace, we are exaggerating in order to justify ourselves. We should ask God for the strength to overcome our whims and to practise self-control. When we lose our temper we lose control of the situation. Words can become harsh and bitter and we end up by offending, wounding and hurting, even though we didn”t mean to.
Am I really in the right?
Another very important thing is to get used to the fact that we are never a hundred per cent right. In fact one can say that in matters like these, which are usually so debatable, the surer we are of being completely right, the more doubtful it is that we really are. Following this line of reasoning makes it easier to correct oneself later on and if necessary to beg pardon, which is the best way of ending a quarrel. In this way peace and love are regained. I am not encouraging you to quarrel but it is understandable that we should fall out at times with those we love most, because they are the people we are always with. We are not going to fall out with someone in Timbuktu! Thus small rows between husband and wife, if they are not frequent, (and they should see to it that they are not) are not a sign that love is missing and in fact they can help to increase it.
Humility leads us as it were by the hand to treat our neighbour in the best way possible, that is, being understanding towards everyone, living at peace with everyone, forgiving everyone; never creating divisions or barriers; and behaving — always! — as instruments that foster unity.
Friends of God, 233
A touch of humour
At times we take ourselves too seriously. Each of us gets angry now and again. Sometimes because it is necessary; at other times because we lack a spirit of mortification. The important thing is to show, with a smile that restores family warmth, that these outbursts of anger do not destroy affection. In a word, the lives of husband and wife should consist of loving one another and loving their children, because by doing this they are loving God.
Sincere, affectionate love
We do not have one heart to love God with and another with which to love other people. This poor heart of ours, made of flesh, loves with an affection which is human and which, if it is united to Christ’s love, is also supernatural. This, and no other, is the charity we have to cultivate in our souls, a charity which will lead us to discover in others the image of Our Lord.
Friends of God, 229
For Christians, loving means “wanting to love”, making up one’s mind in Christ to work for the good of souls, without discrimination of any kind
Friends of God, 231
Each day you must behave to those around you with great understanding, with great affection, together, of course, with all the energy needed. Otherwise understanding and affection become complicity and selfishness.
Charity and truth
Our love is not to be confused with sentimentality or mere good fellowship, nor with that somewhat questionable zeal to help others in order to convince ourselves of our superiority. Rather, it means living in peace with our neighbour, venerating the image of God that is found in each and every person and doing all we can to get them in their turn to contemplate that image, so that they may learn how to turn to Christ.
Friends of God, 230
You will only be good if you know how to see the good points and the virtues of the others. That is why when you have to correct, you should do so with charity, at the opportune moment, without humiliating... And being ready yourself to learn and to improve in the very faults you are correcting.
The Forge, 455
Gossip is a very human thing, they say. And I reply: we have to live in a divine manner. The evil or flippant word of only one man can create a climate of opinion, and even make it fashionable to speak badly about somebody... Then that thin mist of slander rises from below, reaches a high level and perhaps condenses into black clouds. But when the person being persecuted in this way is a soul of God, the clouds shower down a beneficial rain, come what may; and the Lord ensures that they are exalted by the very means with which others tried to humiliate or defame them.
A disciple of Christ will never treat anyone badly. Error we will call error, but the person in error we will correct with kindliness. Otherwise we will not be able to help them, to sanctify them. We must learn to live together, to understand one another, to make allowances, to be brotherly and, at all times, in the words of St John of the Cross, “where there is no love, put love and you will find love”; and we have to do this even in the apparently uninspiring circumstances that arise in our professional work or in our domestic and social life. You and I must therefore seek to make use of even the most trifling opportunities that come our way, to sanctify them, to sanctify ourselves and to sanctify those who share with us the same daily cares, sensing in our lives the sweet and inspiring burden of the work of co-redemption.
Friends of God, 9
List of Contents
- Formation, a constant job
- The Ascension of the Lord
- Stations of the Cross to download
- Hard times
- Almsgiving or how to to lend a hand
- The salt of mortification
- Knowing when to keep silent and when to speak
- Making others happy
- The Epiphany of our Lord
- Meditating on the Pope’s three Christmas wishes with St Josemaria
- To say Thank you
- The kingdom of heaven: what is it?
- A Judge who is our Father and our Friend
- Understanding, dialogue, love
- A secret for times of crisis