Josemaria Escriva. Founder of Opus Dei - Opus Dei founder St Josemaria Escriva, his life day by day, teachings on holiness, apostolate, laity, Catholic Church. Testimonies from Opus Dei members http://www.josemariaescriva.info/ <![CDATA[10 Questions About Marriage]]> St Josemaria answers ten questions about love, marriage, engagement, faithfulness, raising children, the main values in achieving a united family, what happens when a couple can’t have children…


1- What are the most important values in Christian marriage?

2- Father, what is your advice for a newly-wed couple seeking holiness?

3- The theory that love justifies everything is current today and as a result, engagement is looked upon by some people as a sort of ‘trial marriage’. People say that it is hypocritical and reactionary not to follow what they consider to be imperative demands of love. What do you think of this attitude?

4- What would you advise married women to do to ensure that their marriages continue to be happy with the passing of the years and that they do not give way to boredom? This question may not seem very important, but it is one asked by many people.

5- Disagreements between husband and wife are also frequent and sometimes they seriously upset family peace. What advice would you give to married couples in this respect?

6- Many married couples find themselves confused regarding the number of children that they should have. What advice would you give them?

7- There are some women who are afraid to tell their friends and relations that they are going to have another child. They fear the criticism of those who think that large families are old-fashioned. What would you say to us on the subject?

8- The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

9- The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

10- You have just spoken about family unity as a great value. In the light of this fact, how is it that Opus Dei does not organize activities of spiritual formation for husbands and wives together?

Questions et réponses

1. What are the most important values in Christian marriage?

The majority of the members of Opus Dei are married people, so in this field I can speak from the experience of many years of priestly activity in many countries. For the married members of Opus Dei human love and marriage duties are part of their divine vocation. Opus Dei has made of marriage a divine way, a vocation, and this has many consequences for personal holiness and for apostolate. I have spent almost forty years preaching the vocational meaning of marriage. More than once I have had occasion to see faces light up as men and women, who had thought that in their lives a dedication to God was incompatible with a noble and pure human love, heard me say that marriage is a divine path on earth!

The purpose of marriage is to help married people sanctify themselves and others. For this reason they receive a special grace in the sacrament which Jesus Christ instituted. Those who are called to the married state will, with the grace of God, find within their state everything they need to be holy, to identify themselves each day more with Jesus Christ, and to lead those with whom they live to God.

That is why I always look upon Christian homes with hope and affection, upon all the families which are the fruit of the Sacrament of Matrimony. They are a shining witness of the great divine mystery of Christ’s loving union with His Church which St. Paul calls sacramentum magnum, a great sacrament (Eph 5:32). We must strive so that these cells of Christianity may be born and may develop with a desire for holiness, conscious of the fact that the Sacrament of Initiation — Baptism — confers on all Christians a divine mission that each must fulfill in his or her own walk of life.

Christian couples should be aware that they are called to sanctity themselves and to sanctify others, that they are called to be apostles and that their first apostolate is in the home. They should understand that founding a family, educating their children, and exercising a Christian influence in society, are supernatural tasks. The effectiveness and the success of their life — their happiness — depends to a great extent on their awareness of their specific mission.

But they mustn’t forget that the secret of married happiness lies in everyday things, not in daydreams. It lies in finding the hidden joy of coming home in the evening, in affectionate relations with their children, in the everyday work in which the whole family cooperates; in good humor in the face of difficulties that should be met with a sporting spirit; in making the best use of all the advantages that civilization offers to help us rear children, to make the house pleasant and life more simple.

I constantly tell those who have been called by God to form a home to love one another always, to love each other with the love of their youth. Anyone who thinks that love ends when the worries and difficulties that life brings with it begin, has a poor idea of marriage, which is a sacrament and an ideal and a vocation. It is precisely then that love grows strong. Torrents of worries and difficulties are incapable of drowning true love, because people who sacrifice themselves generously together are brought closer by their sacrifice. As Scripture says, aquae multae, a host of difficulties, physical and moral, non potuerunt extinguere caritatem, cannot extinguish love (Cant 8:7).

Conversations, 91


2. Father, what is your advice for a newly-wed couple seeking holiness?

First, love each other very much, in accordance with God’s law. Second, don’t be afraid of life; love each other’s defects as long as they don’t offend God; and, for the wife: don’t neglect the way you look, because you’re no longer your own! You’ve been told, and you know it’s true, that you belong to your husband, and he belongs to you. Don’t let anyone steal him from you! He is a soul who should go to Heaven with you, and what’s more, who should give real Christian quality, and human quality, to the children God sends you. Pray together. Not a lot, but a little every day. When you forget, he can remind you, and when he forgets, you remind him. Don’t scold him when he does something wrong, and don’t nag.
Colegio Tabancura, Chile, July 1974


3. The theory that love justifies everything is current today and as a result, engagement is looked upon by some people as a sort of ‘trial marriage’. People say that it is hypocritical and reactionary not to follow what they consider to be imperative demands of love. What do you think of this attitude?

Any decent person, and especially a Christian, would consider it an attitude unworthy of men. It debases human love, confusing it with selfishness and pleasure.

Reactionary? Who are the reactionaries? The real reactionaries are the people who go back to the jungle, recognizing no impulse other than instinct. Engagement should be time for growing in affection and for getting to know each other better. As in every school of love, it should be inspired, not by a desire to receive, but by a spirit of giving, of understanding, of respect and gentle consideration. Just over a year ago, with this in mind, I gave the University of Navarra a statue of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, so that the undergraduates who study there might learn from her the nobility of love, human love included.

A trial marriage? How little anyone who uses the term knows about love! Love is a much surer, more real, more human reality. It cannot be treated as a commercial product that is tested and then accepted or rejected on the basis of whim, comfort and interest.

This lack of moral standards is so pitiful that it does not even seem necessary to condemn people who think or act in this way. They condemn themselves to the barrenness, the sadness, the desolate loneliness they will suffer within a very few years. I never stop praying for them, loving them with all my heart and trying to make them understand that the way back to Christ is always open. They can be saints, upright Christians, if they make an effort. They will lack neither the necessary grace nor our Lord’s pardon. Only then will they really understand love — divine Love and also noble human love. And only then will they experience peace, happiness and fruitfulness.

Conversations, 91


4. What would you advise married women to do to ensure that their marriages continue to be happy with the passing of the years and that they do not give way to boredom? This question may not seem very important, but it is one asked by many people.

I think it is in fact an important question and therefore the possible solutions are also important even though they may seem very obvious. If a marriage is to preserve its initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day, and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity. Is it surprising that a husband who arrives home tired from work begins to lose patience when his wife keeps on and on about everything she thinks has gone wrong during the day? Disagreeable things can wait for a better moment when the husband is less tired and more disposed to listen to them.

Another important thing is personal appearance. And I would say that any priest who says the contrary is a bad adviser. As years go by a woman who lives in the world has to take more care not only of her interior life, but also of her looks. Her interior life itself requires her to be careful about her personal appearance; naturally this should always be in keeping with her age and circumstances. I often say jokingly that older facades need more restoration. It is the advice of a priest. An old Spanish saying goes: ‘A well-groomed woman keeps her husband away from other doors.’

That is why I am not afraid to say that women are responsible for eighty per cent of the infidelities of their husbands because they do not know how to win them each day and take loving and considerate care of them. A married woman’s attention should be centered on her husband and children, as a married man’s attention should be centered on his wife and children. Much time and effort is required to succeed in this, and anything which militates against it is bad and should not be tolerated.

There is no excuse for not fulfilling this lovable duty. Work outside the home is not an excuse. Not even one’s life of piety can be an excuse, because if it is incompatible with one’s daily obligations, it is not good, nor pleasing to God. A married woman’s first concern has to be her home. There is a Spanish saying which goes: ‘If through going to church to pray a woman burns the stew, she may be half an angel, but she’s half a devil too.’ I’d say she was a fully-fledged devil.

Conversations, 107


5. Disagreements between husband and wife are also frequent and sometimes they seriously upset family peace. What advice would you give to married couples in this respect?

I would advise them to love one another and to realize that although disagreements and difficulties will crop up throughout their lives, if they are solved with ordinary common sense they can even contribute to the deepening of their love.

We each have our own character, our personal tastes, our moods — sometimes 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.

Couples have the grace of the married state — the grace they receive in the Sacrament of Marriage — which enables them to live out all the human and Christian virtues in their married life: understanding, good humor, patience, forgiveness, good manners and consideration in their mutual relations. The important thing is not to give up the effort, not to give in to irritation, pride or personal fads or obsessions. In order to achieve this, husbands and wives must develop their interior life and learn from the Holy Family the best way to practice the virtues of a Christian home, for both supernatural and human reasons. I repeat again that God’s grace will not be lacking.

Anyone who says they cannot put up with this or that, or finds it impossible to hold their peace, is exaggerating in order to justify themselves. We should ask God for the strength to overcome our whims and to practice 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.

We should all learn to keep quiet, to wait and say things in a positive, optimistic way. When her husband loses his temper, the moment has arrived for the wife to be especially patient until he calms down, and vice versa. If there is true love and a real desire to deepen it, it will very rarely happen that the two give in to bad temper at the same time.

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, as long as they are not too frequent, (and they should see to it that they are not) are not a sign that love is lacking; and in fact they can help to increase it.

Finally, I would advise parents never to quarrel in front of their children. They can remind each other of this with a certain word, a look or a gesture. If they cannot avoid the argument altogether they can, at least, put it off till later when they are calmer. The family atmosphere should be one of peace between husband and wife because peace is a necessary condition for deep and effective character training. Children should see in their parents an example of dedication, sincere love, mutual help and understanding. The small trifles of daily life should not be allowed to hide from them the reality of a love that is capable of overcoming all obstacles.

Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Each of us gets angry now and again. Sometimes because it is necessary; 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 in loving one another and loving their children, because by doing this they love God.

Conversations, 108


6. Many married couples find themselves confused regarding the number of children that they should have. What advice would you give them?

Married couples should remember, when they receive advice and recommendations on this matter, that what they have to do is to discover what God wants of them. With sincerity, a right intention, and a minimum of Christian formation, our conscience knows how to discover God’s will in this sphere as in others. There are cases in which we seek advice that will favor our own selfishness, and suppress with its apparent authority the voice of our inner convictions. Then we even go from adviser to adviser until we find a ‘benevolent’ one. This is a pharisaical attitude which is unworthy of a child of God.

The advice of another Christian and especially a priest’s advice, in questions of faith or morals, is a powerful help for knowing what God wants of us in our particular circumstances. Advice, however, does not eliminate personal responsibility. In the end, it is we ourselves, each one of us on our own, who have to decide for ourselves and personally to account to God for our decisions.

Over and above any private advice stands God’s law, which is contained in sacred Scripture, guarded and taught by the Magisterium of the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. When a particular piece of advice contradicts God’s word as taught by the Magisterium, we have to reject it decisively. God will give His grace to those who act with an upright intention. He will inspire them as to what to do and, when necessary, He will enable them to find a priest who knows how to lead their souls along pure and right paths even though at times they may be difficult ones.

Spiritual guidance should not be used to turn people into beings with no judgment of their own, who limit themselves to carrying out mechanically what others tell them. On the contrary, it should tend to develop men with their own Christian standards. This requires maturity, firm convictions, sufficient doctrinal knowledge, a refined spirit and an educated will.

It is important for married people to acquire a clear sense of the dignity of their vocation. They must know that they have been called by God not only to human love but also to a divine love, through their human love. It is important for them to realize that they have been chosen from all eternity to cooperate with the creative power of God by having and then bringing up children. Our Lord asks them to make their home and their entire family life a testimony of all the Christian virtues.

I shall never tire of repeating that marriage is a great and marvelous divine path. Like everything divine in us, it calls for response to grace, generosity, dedication and service. Selfishness, in whatever shape or form, is opposed to the love of God which ought to govern our lives. This is a fundamental point which one must always bear in mind with regard to marriage and the number of children.

Conversations, 93


7. There are some women who are afraid to tell their friends and relations that they are going to have another child. They fear the criticism of those who think that large families are old-fashioned. What would you say to us on the subject?

I bless parents who, joyfully accepting the mission that God entrusts to them, have many children. Moreover, I ask married couples not to block the well-springs of life and I invite them to have enough supernatural outlook and courage to bring up a large family, if it is God’s will.

When I praise large families, I do not refer to those which are the result of mere physiological relations. I refer to families founded on the practice of human virtues, which have a high regard for personal dignity and know that giving children to God consists not only of engendering their natural life but also undertaking the lengthy task of raising them. Giving them life comes first, but it is not everything.

There may be particular cases in which God’s will, which shows itself in ordinary ways, is precisely that a family be small. Nevertheless, the theories that make birth control an ideal, or a universal or general duty, are criminal, anti-Christian and humanly degrading.

To appeal to a presumed post-conciliar spirit opposed to large families would be to adulterate and pervert Christian doctrine. The Second Vatican Council has proclaimed that ‘especially worthy of mention among the married people who fulfill the mission entrusted to them by God, are those who, with prudent mutual agreement, generously accept a more numerous offspring to educate worthily’ (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 50). Moreover, Pope Paul VI, in an address on 12 February 1966, commented ‘that the recently concluded Second Vatican Council should diffuse among Christian couples a spirit of generosity in order to increase the new People of God... that they should always remember that this expansion of God’s kingdom and the possibilities of the Church’s penetration among mankind in order to bring about eternal salvation and the salvation of the world are also entrusted to their generosity’.

The number is not in itself the decisive factor. The fact of having few or many children does not on its own make a family more or less Christian. What matters is the integrity and honesty with which married life is lived. True mutual love transcends the union of husband and wife and extends to its natural fruits — the children. Selfishness, on the contrary, sooner or later reduces love to a mere satisfaction of instinct and destroys the bond which unites parents and children.

I was saying that, in itself, the number of children is not a decisive factor. Nevertheless, I see clearly that attacks on large families stem from a lack of Faith. They are the product of a social atmosphere which is incapable of understanding generosity, trying to conceal selfishness, and unmentionable practices under apparently altruistic motives. Paradoxically, the countries where most birth control propaganda is found, and which impose birth control on other countries, are the very ones which have attained a higher standard of living. Perhaps their economic and social arguments in favor of birth control could be taken more seriously if they led them to give away a sizeable part of their great wealth to those in need.

Until then it will be hard not to think that the real motive behind their arguments is hedonism and ambition for political domination, for demographic neo-colonialism.

I am not unaware of the great problems facing humanity, nor of the actual difficulties which a particular family can confront. I often think of this and my fatherly heart, which I have to have as a Christian and as a priest, is filled with compassion. Nevertheless, it is not lawful to look for the solution in this direction.

Conversations, 94


8. The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

In the first place I would tell them that they should not give up hope too easily. They should ask God to give them children and, if it is His Will, to bless them as He blessed the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. And then it would be good for both of them to see a good doctor. If in spite of everything God does not give them children, they should not regard themselves as being thwarted. They should be happy, discovering in this very fact God’s Will for them. Often God does not give children because He is asking them for something more.
God asks them to put the same effort and the same kind and gentle dedication into helping their neighbors as they would have put into raising their children, without the human joy that comes from having children. There is, then, no reason for feeling they are failures or for giving way to sadness.

If the married couple have interior life, they will understand that God is urging them to make their lives a generous Christian service, a different apostolate from the one they would have fulfilled with their children, but an equally marvelous one.

If they look around they will discover people who need help, charity and love. There are, moreover, many apostolic tasks in which they can work. If they give themselves generously to others and forget themselves, if they put their hearts into their work, they will be wonderfully fruitful and will experience a spiritual parenthood that will fill their souls with true peace.

The particular way of doing this may vary in each case, but in the last analysis it is a matter of being concerned for others with a sense of loving service. God, who always rewards, will fill with a deep joy those souls who have had the generous humility of not thinking of themselves.

Conversations, 96

9. There are couples who separate, in degrading and unbearable conditions. In these cases it is difficult for them to accept the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Those who find themselves in these situations complain that they are denied the possibility of building a new home. What answer would you give to people in such a situation?

While understanding their suffering, I would tell them that they can also see in their situation God’s Will, which is never cruel, for God is a loving Father. The situation may be especially difficult for some time, but if they go to our Lord and His blessed Mother, they will receive the help of grace.

The indissolubility of marriage is not a caprice of the Church nor is it merely a positive ecclesiastical law. It is a precept of natural law, of divine law, and responds perfectly to our nature and to the supernatural order of grace. For these reasons, in the great majority of cases, indissolubility is an indispensable condition for the happiness of married couples and for the spiritual security of their children. Even in the very sad cases we are talking about, the humble acceptance of God’s Will always brings with it a profound sense of satisfaction that nothing can substitute. It is not merely a refuge, or a consolation, it is the very essence of Christian life.

If women who are separated from their husbands have children in their care, they should understand that their children continue to need their loving motherly devotion, and especially now, to make up for the deficiencies of a divided home. They should make a generous effort to understand that indissolubility, which for them means sacrifice, is a safeguard for the integrity and unity of the great majority of families and ennobles the parent’s love and prevents the abandonment of the children.

Surprise at the apparent hardness of the Christian precept of indissolubility is nothing new. The Apostles were surprised when Jesus confirmed it. It can seem a burden, a yoke, but Christ Himself said that His yoke was sweet and his burden light.

On the other hand, although recognizing the inevitable hardship of a good many situations, which often could and should have been avoided, we should be careful not to overdramatize. Is the life of a woman in these circumstances really harder than that of other maltreated women, or of people who suffer any of the other great physical or mental sorrows that life brings with it?

What really makes a person unhappy and even destroys a whole society is the frenzied search for well-being and the attempt to eliminate, at all costs, all difficulties and hardships. Life has many facets, very different situations. Some are harsh, others may seem easy. Each situation brings its own grace. Each one is a special call from God, a new opportunity to work and to give the divine testimony of Charity. I would advise those who feel oppressed by a difficult situation to try to forget about their own problems a bit and concern themselves with the problems of others. If they do this they will have more peace and, above all, they will sanctify themselves.

Conversations, 97


10. You have just spoken about family unity as a great value. In the light of this fact, how is it that Opus Dei does not organize activities of spiritual formation for husbands and wives together?

In this, as in so many other aspects of life, Christians can choose different solutions in accordance with their own preferences or opinions, and no one may impose an exclusive system upon them. We would flee like the plague from that approach to pastoral work and the apostolate in general which seems to be no more than a revised and enlarged edition, in religious life, of the one party system.

I know that there are Catholic groups that organize retreats and other formative activities for married couples. I have no objection whatever to their doing what they think is best nor to people taking part in their activities if they find that they help them live their Christian vocation better. But I do not consider this to be the only way of doing things and it is by no means self evident that it is the best.

There are many facets of Christian life in which married couples, and in fact, the whole family can, and sometimes should, take part together, such as the Mass and other acts of worship. I think, nevertheless, that certain activities of spiritual formation are more effective if they are attended separately by husband and wife. For one thing, it highlights the fundamentally personal character of one’s own sanctification, of the ascetic struggle, of union with God. These certainly affect others, but the role of the individual conscience in them is vital and irreplaceable. Furthermore, it makes it easier to suit the formation given to the particular needs, circumstances and psychology of each person. This does not mean to say that in these activities the fact that the participants are married is disregarded; nothing could be further removed from the spirit of Opus Dei.

For forty years I have been preaching and writing that each person has to sanctify himself or herself in ordinary life, in the concrete situations of every day. Married people, therefore, have to sanctify themselves by living their family obligations perfectly. One of the aims of the retreats and other means of formation organized by Opus Dei for married men or women is to make them more fully aware of the dignity of their vocation to marriage and help them prepare themselves, with the grace of God, to live it better.

In many aspects the demands which married love makes on men and on women are different and their love shows itself in different ways. With specific means of formation they can be helped effectively to discover these details of love in their daily lives. In this way, separation for a few hours or a few days will, in the long run, make them more united and help them to love each other more and better than they did before, with a love full of respect.

I repeat that we do not claim that our way of acting in this is the only good one, or that it should be adopted by everyone. It simply seems to me that it gives very good results and that there are strong reasons — as well as long experience — for doing things this way, but I do not take issue with the contrary opinion.

Furthermore, I would add that if in Opus Dei we adopt this procedure in certain types of spiritual formation, nevertheless in numerous other activities married couples, as such, participate and cooperate. I am thinking, for example, of the work which is done with the parents of pupils in schools conducted by members of Opus Dei, in the meetings, lectures etc., especially arranged for the parents of students who live in halls of residence run by the Work.

So you see, when the type of activity requires the presence of the married couple, husband and wife both take part. But these types of meetings and activities are different from those that are directed towards personal spiritual training.

Conversations, 99

See further: the chapter on marriage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
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<![CDATA[Did God create the world?]]> Catechesis on creation is enormously important. It goes to the very foundations of human and Christian life. It gives the Christian faith’s answer to the basic questions asked by people of all times: “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What was our origin?” “What is our final end?” “Where does everything that exists come from, and where is it going?” Questions about our origin and our end are inseparable from one another. They are decisive for the meaning and direction of our lives and actions.


1. Where do we come from? What was our origin?

We believe that God created the world according to his wisdom. It is not the product of any necessity whatever, nor of blind fate or chance. We believe that it proceeds from God’s free will; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, wisdom and goodness: “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Apoc 4:11). Therefore the Psalmist exclaims: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all” (Ps 104:24).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 295).

Contemplating the mystery
Our lips should express a true desire on our part to correspond effectively to our Creator’s promptings, striving to follow out his plans with unshakeable faith, being fully convinced that he cannot fail us.
(Friends of God, 198)


2. Where are we going? What was the world created for?

Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God” (First Vatican Council, DS 3025). St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it.” (...) This one, true God, of his own goodness and “almighty power”, (...) in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel “and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal”(DS 3002)
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 293)

Contemplating the mystery
What is our purpose in the world? To love God with all our heart and all our soul and to spread this love to all. Does that seem little? God does not abandon any soul to a blind destiny. He has a plan for all and He calls each to a very personal and non-transferable vocation.
(Conversations, no. 106)


3. What is God’s glory?

The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph 1:5-6). (...) The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28), thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude” (Ad Gentes 2).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 294)

Contemplating the mystery
You and I belong to Christ’s family, for “he himself has chosen us before the foundation of the world, to be saints, to be blameless in his sight, for love of him, having predestined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his Will.” We have been chosen gratuitously by Our Lord. His choice of us sets us a clear goal. Our goal is personal sanctity, as St Paul insistently reminds us, haec est voluntas Dei: sanctificatio vestra, “this is the Will of God: your sanctification.” Let us not forget, then, that we are in our Master’s sheepfold in order to achieve that goal.
(Friends of God, 2)


4. If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist?

To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 309)

Contemplating the mystery
Our Lord wants us to rely on him for everything: it is now glaringly evident to us that without him we can do nothing, whereas with him we can do all things. We confirm our decision to walk always in his presence.
With God enlightening our intellect, which seems to be inactive, we understand beyond any shadow of doubt that, since the Creator takes care of everyone, even his enemies, how much more will he take care of his friends! We become convinced that no evil or trouble can befall us which will not turn out to be for our good. And so, joy and peace become more firmly rooted in our spirit, and no merely human motive can tear them from us, because these “visitations” always leave us with something of himself, something divine. We find ourselves praising the Lord Our God, who has worked such great wonders in us, and understanding that God has made us capable of possessing an infinite treasure.
(Homily “Towards Holiness”, published in Friends of God, no. 305)


5. Why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it?

With infinite power God could always create something better (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica 1, q 25, a. 6). But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, 3, 71).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 310)

Contemplating the mystery
Suffering is part of God’s plans. This is the truth, however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done.” In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father’s will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him.
This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death.
(Christ is Passing By, 168)


6. After creating the world, did God abandon his creatures?

With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:
For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living (Wisdom 11:24-26).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 301)

Contemplating the mystery
We must learn to recognize Christ when he comes out to meet us in our brothers, the people around us. No human life is ever isolated. It is bound up with other lives. No man or woman is a single verse; we all make up one divine poem which God writes with the cooperation of our freedom.
(Christ is Passing By, no. 111)

Everything may collapse and fail. Events may turn out contrary to what was expected and great adversity may come. But nothing is to be gained by being perturbed. Furthermore, remember the confident prayer of the prophet: “The Lord is our judge, the Lord gives us our laws, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.”
Say it devoutly every day, so that your behaviour may agree with the designs of Providence, which governs us for our own good.
(Furrow, 855)


7. If God is Lord of history and knows how it will end, are we predestined, and not free?

God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures’ co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God’s greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 306)

Contemplating the mystery
Our Holy Mother the Church has always spoken out in favour of freedom and has always rejected fatalism, both in its ancient and more modern versions. She has pointed out that each soul is master of its own destiny, for good or ill: “and those who have been true to the good will go to eternal life; those who have committed evil, to eternal fire.” I have always been impressed by this awesome capacity which you and I have, which all of us have, a capacity which indeed reveals the nobility of our state. “So true is it that sin is a voluntary evil, that in no way would it be sin if it did not have its origin in the will. This affirmation is so evident that the few wise men and the many fools who inhabit the earth are agreed upon it.”
(Friends of God, 33)

The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight — a fight of peace — against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus do we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain the glorious spiritual triumph of men.
(Christ is Passing By, no. 168)


8. What does it mean to say that man is called to subdue the earth?

God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings (cf. Col 1:24) They then fully become “God’s fellow workers” and co-workers for his kingdom (1 Cor 3:9; 1 Thess 3:2; and Col 4:11).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 307)

The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13; cf. 1 Cor 12:6). Far from diminishing the creature’s dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God’s power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for “without a Creator the creature vanishes” (Gaudium et Spes, 36, 3). Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God’s grace (cf. Mt 19:26; Jn 15:5; Phil 4:13).
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 307)

Contemplating the mystery
You may think what you will about anything that Providence has left to the free and legitimate discussion of men. But in my case, my being a priest of Christ tells me I must work at a higher level and remind you that, whatever the situation, we are never exempt from practising justice, heroically if necessary.
(Friends of God, no. 170)


9. What is our final end? Where does everything come from, and where is it going?

We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12), will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest (cf. Gen 2:2) for which he created heaven and earth.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 314)

Contemplating the mystery
“The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel!” (Mk 1:15)
“And all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them” (Mk 2:13).
Jesus sees the boats on the shore and gets into one of them. How naturally Jesus steps into the boat of each and every one of us!
When you seek to draw close to our Lord, remember that he is always very close to you, that he is in you: regnum Dei intra vos est (Lk 17:21). The kingdom of God is within you. You will find him in your heart.
Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul. But in order for him to reign in me, I need his abundant grace. Only in that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my king.
Duc in altum – Put out into deep water! Throw aside the pessimism that makes a coward of you, Et laxate retia vestra in capturam – And pay out your nets for a catch!
We have to place our trust in our Lord’s words: get into the boat, take the oars, hoist the sails and launch out into this sea of the world which Christ gives us as an inheritance.
Et regni eius non erit finis. His kingdom will have no end.
Doesn’t it fill you with joy to work for such a kingdom?
(Holy Rosary, Third mystery of light: the proclamation of the Kingdom and the call to repentance)
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<![CDATA[My Home is My New Catwalk]]> Neysha, from Puerto Rico, is a professional model. She says, “My home is my new catwalk, and I try to look more elegant than ever, for love of my husband and children.”






My name is Neysha, and I’m married, with three sons, aged six, four and two. The three great loves of my life are the fact that I am a daughter of God, my family, and fashion. I am a model by profession, and now I still give seminars on fashion.

Although I didn’t study fashion, various circumstances made me look in that direction for my career. When I graduated I started work in a boutique where they offered me the chance to attend classes at a modelling academy. I felt at home there and modelled in several fashion shows. In 2004 I represented my town in a national competition for Miss Puerto Rico Universe. But I don’t want to talk about my own career but about how God took a hand in my life.

Something that St Josemaria said gave rise to a great discovery. He had written, “There is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to you to discover it.” This opened up new perspectives on my relationship with God. I realized that God was calling me to serve him in and from my family and work – that that is where God is waiting for me every day.

While I was working as a model I met my future husband, and made good friends with his mother; that stirred up new questions in my soul. When we were going out together he explained why he disliked seeing girls and women wearing bikinis, because he wanted them to be more modest. I decided to follow his advice. On one occasion, when we were auditioning for a fashion show, I was the only model wearing a one-piece swimsuit. My colleagues were surprised, but respected my decision. The designer chose me because he was struck by my wearing the one-piece swimsuit.

My husband’s family attracted me a lot: they were a big, happy, very united family. I wanted a home like that. My husband went regularly to Christian formational activities, and I started to do the same. Thanks to the teachings of St Josemaria, I rediscovered the power of love to transform everyday realities, by finding that “divine element hidden in the details”. That has protected me from boredom, and helps me not to flag in my zest for my housework and bringing up my children.

To keep myself in form, I make the most of the opportunities that I have. It’s practically impossible to find the time to do aerobics or keep-fit, so I exercise when I’m and home and with the children. For instance, when I go shopping I park the car a good distance from the supermarket, so that I have further to walk.

St Josemaria used to say that husbands should see their wives looking really attractive at home, and I do my best to follow this advice every day. My home is my new catwalk, where I try to look more elegant than ever. Like that, I am showing that I respect my husband and setting my children a good example.

Now I dedicate myself full-time to my family. I have left the catwalks behind, but I give fashion workshops. I recently took part in a seminar for young people. One of the girls there told me that she very much wanted to work in fashion, but was put off by the constant pressure to abandon her standards. The seminar enabled her to gain a deeper understanding of her personal worth, and to discover a fantastic field of work for the future.

Although my family is my priority, I want to continue influencing the clothing culture from where I am. Preparing young women to take their first steps in the world of fashion is a unique opportunity to encourage them to be very professional, and to learn to say no to approaches that aim to turn women into objects.
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<![CDATA[St. Josemaria Talks About Torreciudad]]> Video. 2015 marks the 40th anniversay of the inauguation of the Shrine at Torreciudad, which opened in July 1975. In 1972, St. Josemaria spoke about the construction of this Marian shrine, during a large get-together in Barcelona. ]]> <![CDATA[Why do we love our Lady?]]> Faith in the fact that God himself became man has been the joyful conviction of the Church from the very beginning. To come into the world, God chose to rely on the free cooperation of a human being, Mary, to be the mother of his Son through the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Church, from her beginnings, has honored Mary as the daughter of God the Father, mother of God the Son, and spouse of God the Holy Spirit. How did God choose Mary? How did she conceive the Son of God? Why do we call Mary Virgin and Mother?

How did Mary conceive the Son of God made man?
The historical event which God had foreseen from all eternity took place in a Nazareth, a village in Galilee, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish woman, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” says St Luke in chapter 1 of his Gospel.

To come into the world God wanted the free co-operation of a creature, Mary, to be the mother of his Son. “The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 488, 504, 511.

2. How did God choose Mary? What did the Angel Gabriel say to Mary in Nazareth, and what was her answer?
St Luke tells in the first chapter of his Gospel how the Angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” When she heard these words, she wondered what this greeting could mean. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive and bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” From his conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.” From “his fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 504.

Contemplating the mystery
How would we have acted, if we could have chosen our own mother? I’m sure we would have chosen the one we have, adorning her with every possible grace. That is what Christ did. Being all-powerful, all-wise, Love itself, his power carried out his will.
Christ is Passing By, no. 171

Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour, and on the events that they had taken part in. She must have marvelled at all the great things that God, in his boundless mercy, had done for his people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards his people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.” The early Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can and ought to do likewise.
Friends of God, no. 141

3. Was Mary free to respond to God’s plans for her?
Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the fullness of the divinity was to dwell bodily, and she asked about what she did not understand – “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” God’s response to her question was, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” And she pronounced her “fiat”, yes, “Let it be to me according to your word,” in the name of all human nature.

The Virgin Mary, by her faith and free response, took up God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 484, 511.

Contemplating the mystery
Don’t forget, my friend, that we are children. The Lady of the sweet name, Mary, is withdrawn in prayer. You, in that house, are whatever you want to be: a friend, a servant, an onlooker, a neighbour... I, at this moment, don’t dare to be anything. I hide behind you; full of awe, I contemplate the scene: The Archangel delivers his message... Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? “How shall this be done since I know not man?” (Luke 1:34). Our Mother’s voice brings to my memory, by contrast, all the impurities of men.... mine too. And then how I hate the low, mean things of the earth...What resolutions! Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. “Be it done unto me according to Thy word” (Luke 1:38). By the enchantment of this virginal phrase, the Word was made flesh. The first decade is about to end... I still have time to tell my God, before anyone else does: “Jesus, I love You.”
Holy Rosary, first joyful mystery

Mother, O Mother! With that word of yours – fiat, “be it done” – you have made us brothers of God and heirs to his Glory. Blessed art thou!
The Way, no. 512.

The Virgin did not merely pronounce her fiat; in every moment she fulfilled that firm and irrevocable decision. So should we. When God’s love gets through to us and we come to know what he desires, we ought to commit ourselves to be faithful, loyal – and then be so in fact. Because “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
Christ is Passing By, no. 173

4. What does it mean to say that Jesus was conceived by the work and the grace of the Holy Spirit?
It means that God became man without the intervention of a human father. Jesus has no Father except God (cf. Luke 2:48-49). It means that his Mother, Mary, was a virgin. Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation of the Word.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 503.

Contemplating the mystery
When the days of the Mother’s purification are accomplished, according to the Law of Moses, the Child must be taken to Jerusalem, to be presented to the Lord (Luke 2:22). And this time it will be you, my friend, who will carry the cage with the doves (Luke 2:24). Just think: She – the Immaculate! – submits to the Law as if she were defiled. Through this example, foolish child, will you learn to obey the Holy Law of God, regardless of any personal sacrifice?
Purification! You and I surely do need purification! Atonement, and more than atonement, Love. Love as a searing iron to cauterize our souls’ uncleanness, and as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretched tinder of our hearts.
A just and God-fearing man has come to the temple, led by the Holy Spirit. It has been revealed to him that he will not die before he had seen the Christ. He takes the Messiah in his arms and says to Him: “Now, My Lord, Thou canst take Thy servant out of this world in peace, according to Thy promise... because my eyes have seen the Saviour” (Luke 2:25-30).
Holy Rosary, fourth joyful mystery

5. What is the connection between Eve and Mary?
Throughout the Old Covenant Mary’s mission was prefigured by that of many holy women (Sarah, who conceives a son in spite of her old age; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther). At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one.
After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established. Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 489.

Contemplating the mystery
If you and I had had the power, we too would have made her Queen and Lady of all creation. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman with a crown of twelve stars upon her head, clothed with the sun, the moon at her feet (Apoc 12:1). Mary, Virgin without stain, has made up for the fall of Eve: and she crushed the head of the infernal serpent with her immaculate heel. Daughter of God, Mother of God, Spouse of God!
Holy Rosary, fifth glorious mystery

6. What does it mean to say that Mary is full of grace?
The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace. Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”
It means that she was conceived without original sin. Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin” (Pius IX, Bull Ineffabilis Deus, DS 2803).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 490-491.

Contemplating the mystery
There is no heart more human than that of a person overflowing with supernatural sense. Think of Holy Mary, who is full of grace, Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Her Heart has room for all humanity and makes no distinction or discrimination. Every person is her son or her daughter.
Furrow, no. 801

Mary, you are Queen of Peace, because you had faith and believed that what the angel announced would in fact happen. Help us to grow in the faith, to have a firm hope and a deeper love.
Christ is Passing By, no. 170

7. How can a woman be the Mother of God?
Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself, as we are told by Sacred Scripture, God’s Revelation. This truth of faith has been proclaimed by Christians from the earliest times.

The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 509, 502.

Contemplating the mystery
Our mother is a model of correspondence with grace. If we contemplate her life, our Lord will give us the light we need to divinize our everyday lives. Throughout the year when we celebrate feasts dedicated to Mary and frequently on other days, we Christians can think of the Virgin. If we take advantage of these moments, trying to imagine how she would behave in our situation, we will make steady progress. And in the end we will resemble her, as children come to look like their mother.
Christ is Passing By, no. 173

Why is Mary also the Mother of Christians and Mother of the Church?
Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends (cf. Jn 19:26-27; Ap 12:17) to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren (Rm 8:29), that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.”

St John, in chapter 19 of his Gospel, records the words spoken by Jesus to his Mother: standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”

“The Virgin Mary is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 501, 963-967.

At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed (...) by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse” (Lumen Gentium, no. 64).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 507

Contemplating the mystery
Our mother, you brought to earth Jesus, who reveals the love of our Father God. Help us to recognize him in the midst of the cares of each day. Stir up our mind and will so that we may listen to the voice of God, to the calls of grace.
Christ is Passing By, no. 174

Seeing how so many Christians express their affection for the Virgin Mary, surely you also feel more a part of the Church, closer to those brothers and sisters of yours. It is like a family reunion. Grown-up children, whom life has separated, come back to their mother for some family anniversary. And even if they have not always got on well together, today things are different; they feel united, sharing the same affection.
Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the Mystical Body and more united to its visible head, the pope. That’s why I like to repeat: All with Peter to Jesus through Mary! By seeing ourselves as part of the Church and united to our brothers in the faith, we understand more deeply that we are brothers of all mankind, for the Church has been sent to all the peoples of the earth.
Christ is Passing By, no. 139

Consolation, help, hope, Queen, and above all, Mother: “Mother! Call her again and again. She is listening, she sees you in danger perhaps, and with her Son’s grace she, your holy Mother Mary, offers you the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace. Call her, and you will find yourself with added strength for the new struggle.” The Way, no. 516.

9. What does the Assumption of our Lady into Heaven mean?
The Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate, was at the end of her earthly life raised body and soul to heavenly glory, and likened to her risen Son in anticipation of the future lot of all the just; and we believe that the Blessed Mother of God, the New Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ’s members.
Credo of the People of God, 15.

We look to Mary to contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own “pilgrimage of faith,” and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, “in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity,” “in the communion of all the saints,” the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother. “In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God” (Lumen Gentium, 68).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 972

Contemplating the mystery
The Assumption of our Lady prompts us to acknowledge the basis for this joyful hope. Yes, we are still pilgrims, but our mother has gone on ahead, where she points to the reward of our efforts. She tells us that we can make it. And, if we are faithful, we will reach home. The blessed Virgin is not only our model, she is the help of Christians. And as we besiege her with our petitions — “Show that you are our Mother” — she cannot help but watch over her children with motherly care.
Christ is Passing By, no. 177

The divine Motherhood of Mary is the source of all the perfections and privileges with which she is endowed. Because of it, she was conceived immaculate and is full of grace; because of it, she is ever virgin, she was taken up body and soul to heaven and has been crowned Queen of all creation, above the angels and saints. Greater than she, none but God. ‘The Blessed Virgin from the fact that she is the Mother of God has a certain infinite dignity which comes from the infinite good, which is God.’ There is no danger of exaggerating. We can never hope to fathom this inexpressible mystery; nor will we ever be able to thank our Mother enough for bringing us into such intimacy with the Blessed Trinity.

10. Why does Our Blessed Lady hold a central place in Christian life?
“All generations will call me blessed”: these are our Lady’s words in the Magnificat, recognizing what God has worked in her. “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs
This very special devotion differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 971

Contemplating the mystery
How do normal sons or daughters treat their mother? In different ways, of course, but always affectionately and confidently, never coldly. In an intimate way, through small, commonplace customs. And a mother feels hurt if we omit them: a kiss or an embrace when leaving or coming home, a little extra attention, a few warm words. (…) Many Christians have the custom of wearing the scapular; or they have acquired the habit of greeting those pictures — a glance is enough — which are found in every Christian home and in many public places; or they recall the central events in Christ’s life by saying the rosary, never getting tired of repeating its words, just like people in love.
Christ is Passing By, no. 142

If you feel proud to be a child of Our Lady, ask yourself: How often do I express my devotion to the Virgin Mary during the day, from morning to night?
The Forge, no. 433]]>
<![CDATA[Our Lady´s Nativity]]> The entrance antiphon at Mass states:
Let us celebrate with joyful hearts
the birth of the Virgin Mary,
of whom was born the Sun of Justice,
Christ our Lord.


Our mother
Our mother is a model of correspondence to grace. If we contemplate her life, our Lord will give us the light we need to divinize our everyday existence. Throughout the year when we celebrate feasts dedicated to Mary and frequently on other days, we Christians can think of the Virgin. If we take advantage of these moments, trying to imagine how she would conduct herself in our circumstances, we will make steady progress. And in the end we will resemble her, as children come to look like their mother.

Mary, the most holy Mother of God, passes unnoticed, as just one more among the women of her town.
Learn from her how to live with 'naturalness'.
The way, 499

How great the value of humility! — Quia respexit humilitatem... It is not of her faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: 'Since he has looked on my humility, all generations will call me blessed.'
The way, 598

Se is beautiful, and pure
Theologians have frequently come up with (...) reasons to explain in some way the meaning of the abundant graces showered upon Mary and culminating in her assumption to heaven. They put it this way: "It was fitting; God could do so; therefore he did." This is the clearest reason why our Lord granted his Mother, from the very moment of her immaculate conception, all possible privileges. She was free from the power of Satan. She is beautiful, spotless and pure in soul and body.
Christ is passing by, 171

Mary becomes transformed in holiness in the depths of her most pure heart on seeing the humility of God: 'the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you; and therefore the Holy One to be born of you shall be called the Son of God'. The Blessed Virgin's humility is a consequence of that unfathomable depth of grace which comes into operation with the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in the womb of his ever Immaculate Mother.
Friends of God, 96

Love our Lady. And she will obtain for you abundant grace to conquer in your daily struggle. And the enemy will gain nothing by those foul things that continually seem to boil and rise within you, trying to engulf in their fragrant corruption the high ideals, the sublime determination that Christ himself has set in your heart. — Serviam, I will serve!
The way, 493

Let us imitate her love
First, let us imitate her love. Charity cannot be content with just nice feelings; it must find its way into our conversations and, above all, into our deeds. The Virgin did not merely pronounce her fiat; in every moment she fulfilled that firm and irrevocable decision. So should we. When God's love gets through to us and we come to know what he desires, we ought to commit ourselves to be faithful, loyal — and then be so in fact. Because "not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven."

We must imitate her natural and supernatural refinement She is a privileged creature in the history of salvation, for in Mary "the Word became flesh and dwelled among us." But she is a reserved, quiet witness. She never wished to be praised, for she never sought her own glory. Mary is present at the mysteries surrounding the infancy of her Son, but these are "normal" mysteries, so to speak. When the great miracles take place and the crowds acclaim them in amazement, she is nowhere to be found. In Jerusalem when Christ, riding a little donkey, is proclaimed king, we don't catch a glimpse of Mary. But after all have fled, she reappears next to the cross. This way of acting bespeaks personal greatness and depth, the sanctity of her soul.
Christ is passing by, 173

To serve delicately
It was a compliment to his Mother on her fiat, her "be it done." She lived it sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence, but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silent sacrifice of each day.
Christ is passing by, 172

Following her example of obedience to God, we can learn to serve delicately without being slavish. In Mary we don't find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish virgins, who obey, but thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to what God wants, ponders what she doesn't fully understand and asks about what she doesn't know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the divine will: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word." Isn't that marvellous? The blessed Virgin, our teacher in all we do, shows us here that obedience to God is not servile, does not bypass our conscience. We should be inwardly moved to discover the "freedom of the children of God."
Christ is passing by, 173]]>
<![CDATA[Conversion, contrition, Love]]> I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. (St Luke’s Gospel, 15:7)

When am I going to convert?

My God, when am I going to convert?
The Forge > Struggle > no. 112


If you have done something wrong, be it big or small, go running back to God!
Savour those words of the psalm, cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies – the Lord will never spurn or disregard a contrite and humbled heart.
The Forge > Defeat > no. 172


Now! Return to your noble life now. Don’t be a fool: ‘now’ is not too soon... nor too late.
The Way > Resolutions > no. 254


Nunc coepi! – now I begin! This is the cry of a soul in love which, at every moment, whether it has been faithful or lacking in generosity, renews its desire to serve – to love! – our God with wholehearted loyalty.
Furrow > The Struggle > no. 161

You are my hope in all things, dear Jesus. Convert me!
The Forge > Defeat > no. 170

God is waiting for us

Christianity is not an easy way of life. It is not enough just to be in the Church, letting the years roll by. In our life, in the life of Christians, our first conversion – that unique moment which each of us remembers, when we clearly understood everything the Lord was asking of us – is certainly very significant. But the later conversions are even more important, and they are increasingly demanding. To facilitate the work of grace in these conversions, we need to keep our soul young; we have to call upon our Lord, know how to listen to him and, having found out what has gone wrong, know how to ask his pardon.
Christ is Passing By > The Conversion of the Children of God > no. 57

Human life is in some way a constant returning to our Father’s house. We return through contrition, through the conversion of heart which means a desire to change, a firm decision to improve our life and which, therefore, is expressed in sacrifice and self-giving. We return to our Father’s house by means of that sacrament of pardon in which, by confessing our sins, we put on Jesus Christ again and become his brothers, members of God’s family.

God is waiting for us, like the father in the parable, with open arms, even though we don’t deserve it. It doesn’t matter how great our debt is. Just like the prodigal son, all we have to do is open our heart, to be homesick for our Father’s house, to wonder at and rejoice in the gift which God makes us of being able to call ourselves his children, of really being his children, even though our response to him has been so poor.
Christ is Passing By > The Conversion of the Children of God > no. 64

Say slowly and in all earnestness: “Nunc coepi — now I begin!”
Don’t get discouraged if, unfortunately, you don’t see any great change in yourself brought about by the Lord’s right hand... From your lowliness you can cry out: “Help me, my Jesus, because I want to fulfil your Will... your most lovable Will!”
The Forge > To fight once more > no. 398

Love-sorrow

The experience of sin should lead us to sorrow. We should make a more mature and deeper decision to be faithful and truly identify ourselves with Christ.
Christ is Passing By > Christ’s death is the Christian’s life > no. 96

Love-sorrow, then, and, from the depths of that sorrow and humility, we will dare to tell our Lord that our lives also hold a lot of love; that our fault was real, but equally real is the love that he himself places within us and that enables us to serve him with all the strength of our hearts. Say often, as a vocal prayer, Peter’s act of contrition after his denials: “Lord, you know all things: you know I love you!” (Jn 21: 17).
Letter dated 24 March 1931, no. 24

We have to learn how to be God’s children (…), so that no matter what kind of mistakes we may make, even the most embarrassing, we will never hesitate to react and return to the sure path of divine filiation which ends up in the open and welcoming arms of our Father God.
Friends of God, no. 148

Trust in God

In this adventure of love we should not be depressed by our falls, not even by serious falls, if we go to God in the sacrament of penance contrite and resolved to improve. A Christian is not a neurotic collector of good behaviour reports. Jesus Christ our Lord was moved as much by Peter’s repentance after his fall as by John’s innocence and faithfulness. Jesus understands our weakness and draws us to himself on an inclined plane. He wants us to make an effort to climb a little each day.
Christ is Passing By > Interior struggle > no. 75

Now is a good time to examine how much we really want to live as Christians, to be holy. Here is our chance to react against our weaknesses with an act of faith. We can trust in God and resolve to put love into the things we do each day. The experience of sin should lead us to sorrow. We should make a more mature and deeper decision to be faithful and truly identify ourselves with Christ.
Christ is Passing By > Christ’s death is the Christian’s life > no. 96

“What I owe to God as a Christian! My failure to respond to God’s grace, in the face of that debt, has made me weep with sorrow; with Love-sorrow. Mea culpa! – through my fault!”
It is good that you acknowledge your debts; but don’t forget how they are paid: with tears... and with deeds.
The Way > Examination of conscience > no. 242
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<![CDATA[What are the Works of Mercy?]]> Pope Francis has announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy, and asks the faithful to practise the works of mercy during this year. What are they?

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“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”
Pope Francis, Bull Misericordiae Vultus, 2

1. What are the works of mercy?
It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.
Pope Francis, Bull Misericordiae Vultus, 15

Mercy is more than simply being compassionate. Mercy is the overflow of charity, which brings with it also an overflow of justice. Mercy means keeping one’s heart totally alive, throbbing in a way that is both human and divine, with a love that is strong, self-sacrificing and generous. Here is what St Paul has to say about charity in his hymn to this virtue, “Charity is patient, is kind; charity feels no envy; charity is never perverse or proud, never insolent; does not claim its rights, cannot be provoked, does not brood over an injury; takes no pleasure in wrong-doing, but rejoices at the victory of truth; sustains, believes, hopes, endures, to the last” (I Cor 13: 4-7).
St Josemaria, Friends of God, 232

You cannot think of others as if they were digits, or rungs on a ladder on which you can rise, or a multitude to be harangued or humiliated, praised or despised, according to circumstances. Be mindful of what others are – and first of all those who are at your side: children of God, with all the dignity that marvellous title entails.
St Josemaria, Christ is Passing By, 26

2. What are the works of mercy?
The seven Corporal Works of Mercy are:
1. To feed the hungry.
2. To give drink to the thirsty.
3. To clothe the naked.
4. To welcome the stranger.
5. To visit the sick.
6. To visit the imprisoned.
7. To bury the dead.

The seven Spiritual Works of Mercy are:
1. To admonish sinners.
2. To instruct the ignorant.
3. To counsel the doubtful.
4. To comfort the sorrowful.
5. To bear wrongs patiently.
6. To forgive injustice.
7. To pray for the living and the dead.

Most of the corporal works of mercy are taken from our Lord’s description of the Last Judgement (Matt 25: 34-46), and from Tobias chapters 1 and 2.
The Church has drawn up the list of the spiritual works of mercy from various parts of the Bible, especially Christ’s teachings on forgiveness, fraternal correction, consoling others, bearing suffering, etc.

3. What effect do the works of mercy have on the people who practise them?
The works of mercy gain graces for those who practise them. In St Luke’s gospel, Jesus says: “Ask, and it will be given you” (Lk 11:9). Therefore, by doing works of mercy we are doing God’s will, we are giving to others, and our Lord has promised that he will also give us what we need.

Another consideration is that one way to get rid of the debt of punishment remaining in our souls for sins that have been forgiven, is to do good works. The obvious good works we can do are the works of mercy. One of the Beatitudes is: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt 5:7).

What is more, the works of mercy help us to keep going forward on the path to heaven, because they make us progressively more like Jesus, our model, who taught us what our attitude to others should be. St Matthew gives us these words from Jesus: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt 6:19-21). If we act on this lesson from our Lord, we will be exchanging earthly possessions for the riches of eternity, which are the truly priceless treasures.

Contemplating the mystery
Think first about others. That way you will pass your life on this earth, making mistakes certainly, for they are inevitable, but leaving behind you a trail of good.
And when the hour of death comes, as it must inexorably, you will welcome it gladly, like Christ, because like Him we too will rise again to receive the reward of his Love.
St Josemaria, The Way of the Cross, 14th station, point 4.

If we know Jesus, we realize that we can live only by giving ourselves to the service of others. As Christians we can’t be caught up in personal problems; we must be concerned about the universal Church and the salvation of all souls.
St Josemaria, Christ is Passing By, 145

We must give our life for others. That is the only way to live the life of Jesus Christ and to become one and the same thing with Him.
St Josemaria, The Way of the Cross, 14th station.


4. The corporal works of mercy: a brief explanation

St Matthew gives us Jesus’ description of the Last Judgement (Matt 25: 31–46). “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

1) To feed the hungry, and 2) To give drink to the thirsty.
The first two corporal works of mercy go together, and describe the help we should provide – food and other necessities – to the poorest and most needy, who do not have enough to eat every day.
In St Luke’s gospel, chapter 3, verse 11, our Lord tells us: “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”

3) To clothe the naked.
This work of mercy provides for another basic need: clothes. It is often made easy for us by collections of clothes organized in a local church or other center. It can be a good thing to think about giving not only what we do not need or can no longer wear, but also clothes that we still like to wear.
In the Letter of St James we are encouraged to be generous: “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?” (Jas 2:15-16).

4) To welcome the stranger.
In ancient times, sheltering strangers was a matter of life and death, because journeys were so complicated and risky. That is not always the case today. Even so, we should take opportunities to offer a place in our homes not simply as hospitality to a family member or friend, but to someone in real need.

5) To visit the sick.
This is a very practical way of helping the sick and elderly, both caring for their physical needs and offering them company and friendly conversation for a while.
The best example in Scripture is the parable of the Good Samaritan, who cared for the wounded man and, when he could no longer do so himself, committed him to the care of another, whom he paid out of his own pocket (Lk 10: 30-37).

6. To visit the imprisoned.
This involves visiting prisoners not only to offer them material assistance but spiritual help too, to help them improve their lives, change their ways, learn a skill so that they can earn their living when they finish their prison sentence, and so on. It also means ransoming the innocent and people who have been kidnapped. In ancient times, Christians used to offer payment to set slaves free, or offered themselves in exchange for innocent captives.

7. To bury the dead.
Christ had no burial-place of his own. A friend, Joseph of Arimathea, gave the use of his tomb. And not only that: he was brave enough to go to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body. Nicodemus also helped to bury him (Jn 19: 38-42).
It might seem unnecessary to specify burying the dead as a work of mercy, because everyone gets buried. But in times of war, for instance, it may be a very demanding and merciful task indeed. Why is it important to give decent burial to the dead? Because the human body, if it was Christian, was the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit: we are “temples of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor 6:19).

Contemplating the mystery
If we want to help others, we must love them – I insist – with a love clothed in understanding, dedication, affection and voluntary humility. Then we will understand why our Lord summed up the whole law in that double commandment, which is really just one: love of God, and love of one’s neighbour, with all our heart.
Maybe you are thinking that sometimes Christians – not just other people, you and I – forget the most elementary applications of this duty. Perhaps you bring to mind all the injustices which cry for redress, all the abuses which go uncorrected, the discrimination passed on from one generation to the next with no attempt to find permanent solutions.
I cannot propose to you a particular way to solve problems of this kind, there is no reason why I should. But, as a priest of Jesus Christ, it is my duty to remind you of what sacred Scripture says. Meditate on the scene of the judgment which Jesus himself has described: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; naked and you did not clothe me; sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”
A man or a society that does not react to suffering and injustice and makes no effort to alleviate them is still distant from the love of Christ’s heart. While Christians enjoy the fullest freedom in finding and applying various solutions to these problems, they should be united in having one and the same desire to serve mankind. Otherwise their Christianity will not be the word and life of Jesus; it will be a fraud, a deception of God and man.
St Josemaria, Christ is Passing By, 167

I give you thanks, my Jesus, for your decision to become perfect Man, with a Heart which loved and is most lovable; which loved unto death and suffered; which was filled with joy and sorrow; which delighted in the things of men and showed us the way to Heaven; which subjected itself heroically to duty and acted with mercy; which watched over the poor and the rich and cared for sinners and the just... I give you thanks, my Jesus. Give us hearts to measure up to Yours!
St Josemaria, Furrow, 813

It is love that gives meaning to sacrifice. Every mother knows well what it means to sacrifice herself for her children; it is not a matter of giving them a few hours of her time, but of spending her whole life in their benefit. We must live thinking of others and using things in such a way that there will be something to offer to others. All these are dimensions of poverty which guarantee an effective detachment.
St Josemaria, Conversations, 111


The spiritual works of mercy: a brief explanation

1) To admonish sinners.
Fraternal correction is explained by Jesus himself in St Matthew’s gospel. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matt 18:15).
We should correct our neighbour gently and humbly. We will often find it difficult, but if so we can recall what St James says at the end of his Letter: “Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (Jas 5:20).

2) To instruct the ignorant.
Enlightening people in any field, including that of religion, whether in writing, conversation, or any other of the available media. As the Book of Daniel says, “those who turn many to righteousness [shall shine] like the stars for ever and ever” (Dan 12:3b).

3) To counsel the doubtful.
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of Counsel. Anyone who aims to give good advice to others must first have a clear conscience and be able to listen to God, because what we should give is not our personal opinion but true guidance to those who need it.

4) To comfort the sorrowful.
Being there for our brothers and sisters all the time, but especially in times of difficulty, means acting like Jesus, who was moved to pity by the suffering of others. We see this in St Luke’s gospel, with the incident of the widow’s son at Naim (or Nain). “As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother” (Lk 7:12-15).

5) To bear wrongs patiently.
Patience in the face of wrong is a virtue, and a true work of mercy. However, in cases where bearing other people’s defects or wrong-doing in silence causes objective harm to the person doing wrong, or to others, we also need to have the courage and charity to correct the wrong-doer gently and positively.

6) To forgive injustice.
In the Our Father, we say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, and our Lord underlines this point clearly: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14-15). Forgiving offences means overcoming our feelings of resentment and desire for revenge, and instead, treating the offender kindly. The best example of forgiveness in the Old Testament is that of Joseph, who forgave his brothers, after they had tried to kill him and then sold him as a slave. “Do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). And the greatest example of forgiveness in the New Testament is that of Christ on the Cross, teaching us that we must forgive everything, always. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).

7) To pray for the living and the dead.
St Paul recommends us to pray for everyone without distinction, including those who hold posts of government and responsibility, since God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2:1-4). The Holy Souls in Purgatory depend on our prayers. It is a good work to pray for them to be freed from their sins (cf. 2 Mac 12:46).
Pope Francis asks all Christians and people of good will to pray especially for persecuted Christians. We can stop and think how we are fulfilling his express wishes, so that our brothers and sisters in the faith may be supported and consoled by our prayer.

Contemplating the mystery
We have to open our eyes; we have to look around us and recognize how God is calling us through the people at our side. We cannot turn our backs on others, ignoring them, because we are caught up in our own little world. That wasn’t how Jesus lived. The Gospel often speaks of his mercy, his ability to feel the sorrow and share the needs of others. He consoled the widow of Naim; he wept at the death of Lazarus; he felt compassion for the crowds that followed him with nothing to eat; he also had pity on sinners, on those who go through life without knowing light or truth. “And when he landed, Jesus saw a large crowd, and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.”
When we are truly sons and daughters of Mary, we understand this attitude of our Lord, and our heart expands and becomes tender. We feel the sufferings, doubts, loneliness and sorrow of all other people, our brothers and sisters. And we urgently want to help them and speak to them about God, so that they can treat him as their Father and understand the motherly care which Mary is offering them.
Christ is Passing By, 146

We should accompany others so that no one is left, or can feel, abandoned. Our charity has to be affectionate, full of human warmth.
Christ is Passing By, 36
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<![CDATA[I Found the Prayer-card on the Internet]]> I want to share the favor I received from Saint Josemaria. On the internet, I found his prayer-card, and I began praying for my husband to get a better job than the one he had. After less than a month, he was offered a very well-paid job. I am still praying to Saint Josemaria to help us, and for my family not to be overwhelmed by some money problems. I believe in his intercession, and I am going keep on praying for the rest of my life for him to help my husband. I also hope to keep receiving favors from him.
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<![CDATA[A Job in the University]]> I am Peruvian, and I would like to thank St Josemaria for the graces that he always obtains for me. On this occasion he helped me get a job. I was in the final months of my doctoral program at a university in Japan. In my original plans I had thought to move to another place. I started looking for postdoctoral posts in other countries, and I could not get anything. Then my own university announced two posts for recent graduates to be selected internally. I told my Head of Department that I wished to apply. Before I applied he checked to see if I was eligible, as he was not sure whether the post would be open to foreign students. He also told me frankly not to raise my hopes too high, since it was possible that they already knew who they intended to choose. My sister suggested that I should pray the Novena for Work to St Josemaria. On precisely the ninth day of the Novena, I was notified that I had been selected, and so I was able to start work in April this year.
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<![CDATA[1974.8.28]]> In Caracas, Venezuela, Saint Josemaría was asked how to pray. He said: “You know that our Lord is in the Tabernacle, but he is also [...]]]> <![CDATA[How can we live if we arent in love?]]> Without love, life wouldnt be worth living. Therefore St. Josemaría counseled: Fall madly in love, both when our love is in heaven and when its on earth.]]> <![CDATA[Marriage: a Christian Vocation]]> Download pdf of the homily "Marriage: a christian vocation", given by St Josemaria in Christmas 1970. ]]> <![CDATA[Pope Francis: The Eucharist is not a symbol, it is Jesus giving himself entirely]]> Video (Rome Reports). The Pope spoke further about the Eucharist. He explained that it is much more than a symbol or an image. The Eucharist, he said, is Jesus giving Himself. "Jesus left us the Eucharist with a precise objective: That we can become one with Him.”]]>